Surprise, surprise: Castle Ridge rents will remain in perpetuity

The Castle Ridge Apartments near Aspen Valley Hospital, which has 80 deed-restricted units, will remain rent controlled instead of becoming a free-market property.
Carolyn Sackariason/The Aspen Times archives

As city of Aspen officials continue to brainstorm on how to prevent the deed restrictions from expiring on hundreds of affordable housing units, it’s been realized that a big part of that inventory, Castle Ridge Apartments, will remain rent-controlled.

Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority officials, as well as the city’s elected leaders, have been under the impression that the 80 apartments at Castle Ridge would become free-market in 12 years.

It was thought that Castle Ridge fell under a 50-year deed-restriction sunset clause from when they were approved that other complexes within the APCHA inventory are subject to.

But recently, Tom Smith, counsel for APCHA, and local attorney Rick Neiley, who represents Castle Ridge Associates LTD, discovered there is no such clause, and the deed restrictions are in perpetuity.

That was confirmed in the last amended declaration of covenants, restrictions and conditions for Castle Ridge, which was in 1988, according to documents filed with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s office.

The St. Louis, Missouri-based ownership group purchased the land and complex, located across from Aspen Valley Hospital, from the city in 1982 for $4.2 million.

According to the amended covenants document, a maximum gross annual rental rate cap for the entire 58,856-square-foot complex was $918,153 in 2000.

The square foot rate cap can increase 4% annually after 2000 as long as Castle Ridge Associates owns and operates the apartments, according to county clerk documents.