Westpac to acquire Timbermill?
November 28, 2007
SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” The Timbermill, the original party spot at Snowmass, is apparently about to be sold.
Related Westpac, which has been on a roll of property acquisition in Snowmass Village and the upper Roaring Fork Valley, including the purchase of Base Village at Snowmass, is close to putting the Timbermill under contract, the town’s weekly newspaper, the Snowmass Sun, has learned. Neither Westpac’s Pat Smith nor any of his management team would confirm the impending purchase; the attorney for the building’s current owner is out of town and could not be reached for comment.
The sale of the Timbermill to Related WestPac would give the company a key and long-sought-after piece it needs in order to redevelop the Snowmass Mall and West Village area. The building is on the mall.
On April 17, Related WestPac paid $22.5 million for the Snowmass Mountain Chalet, located just downhill from the Timbermill, according to documents filed with Pitkin County. The Timbermill is expected to fetch an even higher price.
The Timbermill has been one of Snowmass Village’s most colorful sites since the resort’s inception in 1967 (it’s official name is the Hive Building).
When it was built, it was considered the base lodge for the Snowmass ski area and it became the place to come to for entertainment after a day on the slopes. Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt and John Denver are among the performers who played apres-ski sets at the Timbermill.
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The basement of the Timbermill used to house Snowmass Village’s only movie theater, The Opticon, where patrons hung out, sipped beer and watched midnight X-rated movies along with the theater’s other film offerings. The theater space was later converted into the Bedford Ballroom.
“When SRA took over the lease on the movie theater and converted it to a conference space, we found a half-dozen people living in the cubby hole that existed between the roof of the movie theater and the floor of the Timbermill,” recalled longtime resident Jeff Tippett, former head of the Snowmass Resort Association.
The Timbermill has been owned by Hollywood producer Lance Hool since 2004; he paid $9.85 million to buy the building from the Aspen Skiing Co., which took over the laid-back, tavern-like Timbermill in 1997 and renamed it the Cirque, converting it into a more upscale bar and restaurant. Hool has been the producer of such films as “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles,” “Flipper” and “Man on Fire.”
The storied history of the Timbermill covers a time that longtime Snowmass locals think of as the resort’s heyday. From 1978 to 1991, Michael Shore, who owned the Tower Restaurant and Magic Bar, and Paul Lerch held the lease on the Timbermill. A herd of ski boots stomped the Timbermill’s floor, bouncing in unison to the beat of one band after another.
In a Sun story in 2004, Shore said: “People’s fondest memories of the early days include coming to the Timbermill, dancing in ski books to the bands and having an absolutely great time. There were other places to go, but the Timbermill was THE place.”
Shore sold the lease on the Timbermill in 1991 to Mike Ansilotti, who ran the place until Skico took it over. In the early days, the bar was much larger. Renovations in the ’80s and ’90s reduced the space from 8,500 square feet to 3,500 square feet.