Weinglass looks to sell Boogie’s | AspenTimes.com

Weinglass looks to sell Boogie’s

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

Leonard “Boogie” Weinglass on the steps of his diner in 2013.

Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass said Wednesday that he is looking to sell his Cooper Avenue diner, which has grown into an Aspen mainstay since its controversial opening in 1987.

The 73-year-old Weinglass said he has been looking to sell the building for the past year and a half.

"There's a lot of people kicking tires. I'm 73, and I want to get out of there," he said Wednesday from Las Vegas, adding that ideally he would like to sell sometime next year. "It's not going to be in the next six, seven months. I can tell you that."

Weinglass said fielding offers for the space is nothing new, claiming that a serious buyer approaches him about the diner once a month. But he said he's now ready to entertain those offers. Though no local groups have solicited Weinglass, he said he wouldn't sell the building to someone looking to "open a McDonald's."

Weinglass, who made a fortune through the rise and fall of his billion-dollar Merry-Go-Round retail chain between 1968 and 1996, has become less involved at his Aspen diner in recent years. In May 2012, he stepped away from the business to make time for travel. Because his three kids — Sage, Skye and Bo — weren't ready to take over, he handed the reins to three local restaurateurs who had impressed him with their work at Over Easy.

Six months later, Weinglass was diagnosed with cancer and took a harder look at the future. With Over Easy management failing to wow, Weinglass turned to his kids, who have been managing the diner and its Lil' Boogie's counterpart across the street since.

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"If this business doesn't run smoothly without me, I'll be forced to sell this building," Weinglass told The Aspen Times in May. "I want people to come in and see good clothes and eat good food and have fun."

According to Pitkin County property records, the building, located at 534 E. Cooper Ave., has an actual value of $15.9 million. It was purchased in 1986 for $1.1 million, records state.

In July 2013, Weinglass won Aspen City Council approval to build a third-story penthouse above his second-floor diner. The development application was filed in 2012, shortly after the council failed in its attempt to pass an emergency ordinance that sought to ban third-story residential projects in the commercial core. The project has not yet broken ground.

When Boogie's Diner opened, Weinglass detractors called his view-blocking structure the "Boogification" of Aspen. Because it was independent from the Merry-Go-Round corporation, the building is the lone survivor from the chain's 1996 collapse.