Smuggler Mine sells for $7.5 million

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Jay Parker, left, and Chris Preusch, two of the now-former owners of the Smuggler Mine, stand at one of the silver mine's portals, where tours exit the mountain, in 2012.
Aspen Times file |

Smuggler Mine sells

Address: 0100 Smuggler Mountain Road

Price: $7.5 million

Buyer: Aspen Green Mountain LLC

Seller: New Smuggler Mine Corp.

Property type: Mine

2014 property tax bill: $9,648.32

Smuggler Mine has changed ownership.

The historic attraction, located at the base of Smuggler Mountain, sold for $7.5 million Friday. The new owner is Aspen Green Mountain, a limited liability company that was formed earlier this month, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Aspen attorney Bart Johnson, a representative for the buyer, said they had no immediate comment about the deal.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Chris Preusch, president of New Smuggler Mine Corp., which sold the 29.7-acre property that had been on the market since 2012.

Smuggler Mine is rich in history, from exceptional to dubious: It harvested the world’s largest silver nugget, weighing over a ton, in 1894. Ninety years later, in 1984, high levels of lead prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to list it as a Superfund site. It was completely cleaned up a dozen years later. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the spot where an early-morning cannon shot is fired every July 4.

Additionally, it is home to two developable lots and is part of the Urban Growth Boundary and located in the county.

It’s unclear, however, what the new owner’s intentions are. The property had previously gone under contract to another suitor, Joe Crafton, who had designs to preserve the mine while adding a gift shop, visitor center, museum, other amenities and two single-family homes. But that deal collapsed earlier this year.

All Preusch knew about the new owner is that the mine tours will continue.

“The tours and the day-to-day operations will not change,” he said.


A Florida-based company has been on a buying binge at the Residences at Little Nell. Ejemplar LLC gobbled up 51⁄8 interests at the luxury fraction-ownership development last week. The total cost: $5 million. Four of the interests are for the same unit, according to property records. Ejempar also sold a separate interest, which it bought last year, for $950,000 last week. In July 2014, Ejemplar bought two fractional-interests for $2.8 million at the Residences, following up a deal in September 2013 when it acquired four interests for $5.6 million.

• Single-family homes in Aspen so far this year are selling for 93.2 percent of their listing price. That’s not as high as the 2005 boom year when they reeled in 95.6 percent of the asking price, but a vast improvement over 2010, when 87.2 percent was the mark, according to broker and analyst Andrew Ernemann, who provided the analysis during the Aspen Snowmass Residential and Commercial Real Estate Update on Thursday at the Limelight Hotel.

• At the same forum, commercial broker Lex Tarumianz noted the potential Four Seasons development on the 700 block of West Hopkins Avenue will face some obvious challenges. “This is definitely going to be quite the undertaking, to get the project approved on a pretty quiet street in Aspen,” he said.