The fractionalization of Aspen |

The fractionalization of Aspen

Dear Editor:Many locals seem to fear the metamorphosis that is afoot in Aspen. I guess I’m one of them, although I’m resigned to accepting the inevitable.I was initially attracted to Aspen for the natural beauty, the laid-back lifestyle and especially for the skiing. I came to avoid crowds, noise, congestion, traffic, the “a-hole factor” and responsibility. Now I get them all these things in spades – except for the responsibility.Change, growth and progress (some would say) have always been part of the Aspen landscape. Remember when Prada was Andre’s, and Polo was Crossroads Drugs? During this current growth cycle, the speed, the scope and the density of the alterations seem to be super-sized. Unique retailers and restaurants have always come and gone, but the banks and the real estate offices – they’re here to stay. I continually have to remind myself that Aspen is a real estate town, and not a ski town. Supply and demand, – bigger is better – and money talks – these are not new concepts, – but they are impacting our quality of life.We can’t simply blame the mayor, or the City Council or the second homeowners, or even the developers. I’m blaming the FRACTIONALIZATION of ASPEN.Everything here is for sale now. Just five years ago you could actually rent a hotel room instead of buying it. If you need a parking space – for cripes’ sake – just buy one! At what point will we need to purchase dinner reservations. How much will it cost to own the lifetime rights for four seats at Kenichi on Dec. 26? $25,000 … $50,000 … maybe more. Can you finance that? How much for the whole town? We’re putting a group together; are you in?Skico has embraced the fractionalization craze too. Locals are getting used to all the heavy machinery and the huge hole at the base of Ajax, and most of us habitually try to avoid the “funnel of fear,” aka Fanny Hill at Snowmass. You don’t need an MBA to estimate the economics attached to the decision to “sublet” skier’s left at the bottom of the Little Nell ski run for a photo exhibition. I hope no one bites it over there, but if it happens, don’t be surprised.So fractionalization is upon us. You don’t have to like it – but you’d better get used to it.Andrew M. IsraelAspen