Super-sized Aspen: St. Regis tops list
Aspen Times Weekly
Size and scale emerged as major issues in Aspen’s recent land-use battles, like those over the redeveloped Limelight and the Lodge at Aspen Mountain proposal.
So it might come as a surprise that the largest commercial buildings in town ” at least those under single ownership ” hail from the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s. Nothing on the top-10 list of largest buildings in Pitkin County was constructed any more recently than 1992, according to data supplied by the assessor’s office.
The hotel that triggered a legendary battle over size and scale in the late 1980s and early 1990s tops the list of the supersized commercial buildings. The St. Regis Resort comes in at nearly 280,000 square feet, but that only tells part of the story. The hotel converted 98 rooms in its east wing to 25 fractional ownership suites in 2004. Because they have multiple owners that are different from the hotel owner, the fractionals are treated as separate units in the assessor’s stats, even though they are under the same roof.
The 280,000 square feet includes the 179 guest rooms and suites remaining in the hotel, the restaurant, lobby and retail areas, as well as the basement and parking garage. The hotel was built as a Ritz-Carlton in 1992.
Other large buildings that are condominiumized ” and therefore have separate owners ” don’t register among the top-10 largest buildings in the assessor’s data base. That eliminates contenders such as the North of Nell and Aspen Square, and newer projects like the Hyatt Grand Aspen.
The St. Regis dwarfs the next largest buildings, which happen to be competing luxury hotels. The Hotel Jerome, one of the silver mining town’s most regal buildings when constructed in 1889, was expanded to 113,000 square feet with a major addition in 1985. The Little Nell hotel, built in 1990, is nearly 104,000 square feet.
Four of Pitkin County’s largest commercial buildings are located in Snowmass Village. The Silvertree Hotel is counted separately from its commercial area in the assessor’s records. If combined, however, the components would make the second-largest commercial building in the county at nearly 170,000 square feet. The hotel was refurbished and retail areas added in 1989.
The Aspen Skiing Co.’s Snowmass Club and Related Westpac’s Snowmass Center also cracked the list of biggies. The club was originally built in 1981, while the center dates back to 1978 and was remodeled in 1987.
The oldies but biggies in Aspen include Aspen Club and Spa, originally built in 1977; the Maroon Creek Club, built in 1985; and the Aspen Club Lodge.
The list will get rearranged as the big buildings in Base Village are completed in coming years. Some projects on the books in Aspen also have the potential to crack the list.