The musical chairs of Aspen business: Grateful Deli for sale; other businesses coming in
The Aspen Times
Despite the appearance of some high-profile retail spots that are currently sitting empty in Aspen’s commercial core — like the former Boogie’s Building or the longtime home to Little Annie’s Eating House — overall, the city’s vacancy rate is actually quite low, according to local appraiser Randy Gold.
Gold, who’s appraised real estate in town since the late 1970s, said the number of vacancies in Aspen is “always low compared to urban markets and other communities.”
He estimated that the vacancy rate for retail spaces in downtown Aspen, which includes the area from Original Street to Monarch Street and Durant Avenue to Main Street, is approximately 2 to 3 percent.
The current vacancy rate for downtown office space, Gold said, is closer to about 3 to 5 percent.
Gold calculates these rates by dividing the total number of occupied spaces by the total inventory available.
The distinction between office and retail is that offices in the commercial core zone are not allowed to occupy the street level, which is reserved for retailers, per the city’s zoning restrictions.
Broker Karen Setterfield, who’s leased commercial spaces locally for 30 years, agreed with Gold that Aspen’s retail vacancies are “overall quite low” compared with other places.
“Demand is always very strong in August or September, and I’d say it’s equal or stronger right now,” Setterfield said.
“Just because somebody sees a space that’s vacant or a (Realtor’s) sign in the window” doesn’t mean negotiations and deals aren’t in the works, she added.
“As this work is not visible like ongoing construction, people may not realize that commercial leasing is a process that is going on all the time, and especially at this time of the year,” Setterfield said. “Turnover is normal as leases end, business owners decide to retire or expand or relocate, and as other factors create opportunities for new retailers to lease spaces and open for business.”
With that, here’s the latest in the game of musical chairs that is Aspen’s retail and business scene.
The laid-back local deli is on the market, Grateful Deli co-owner Krista Eddy said Thursday.
Eddy, who co-owns the sandwich shop with her husband, Joe, said they have received “a huge response” from potential buyers after posting to the Grateful Deli’s Facebook page in late August that the business is for sale.
But whether the Grateful Dead-inspired deli — or any food service, for that matter — will continue to operate in the compact space at 233 E. Main St. is up in the air.
“We’re currently talking with several interested parties and there’s been ideas all over the board,” Eddy said. “We’ve had some people that are interested in keeping it the same and some people that are interested in changing it.”
Eddy said she and Joe have talked about selling the deli for a while and ultimately decided “it was time for a career change.”
The two have owned and operated the Main Street sandwich shop together for nine years.
Not much is expected to happen inside the Boogie’s Building for a while, according to a local commercial broker, aside from plans for the large indoor cycling group SoulCycle to set up a pop-up in the space December and part of January.
Several calls to Thor Equities, the New York-based development firm that purchased the building for $27.5 million in May 2015, were not answered.
After SoulCycle’s pop-up, Thor intends to continue with plans to majorly redevelop the iconic Aspen building located at the corner of East Cooper Avenue and Hunter Street, according to a recent statement.
In Boogie’s Diner fashion, future plans for the building include retail at street level and a restaurant on the second floor.
What lies ahead inside the space of this former local favorite, which closed in April after 44 years of business, is still largely in question.
Setterfield said she has spoken with many restaurateurs who are interested in the space, though which tenants will take over the building is up to its owners, Garfield & Hecht.
Calls and an office visit to Garfield & Hecht co-owner Andy Hecht for more information were not successful.
ART GALLERIES AND CLOTHING STORES
An art gallery called Mountain Trails will take over the space in the Bidwell Building that the N.A. Noel Art Gallery formerly occupied, beginning Oct 1. The Bidwell Building, located at 434 E. Cooper Ave., is home to Kemo Sabe, Ryno’s Pub & Pizzeria and a few other tenants.
A “young and hip” men and women’s clothing store named Kith will move into the space next door to the Bidwell Building, which was previously occupied by the Raven art gallery, according to Setterfield. The Raven Gallery relocated across the street.
Odd Molly, a women’s clothing line from Sweden, will open in the space next to the Aspen Square Hotel at 613 E Cooper Ave., where the Quintenz Gallery is currently located.