What’s in store for lodging in Aspen? | AspenTimes.com

What’s in store for lodging in Aspen?

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

This Aspen City Council has only voted on one hotel redevelopment application, but it’s scheduled to vote on five more in the near future. Included in some of these proposals are a number of variance requests, but at the same time, Aspen is faced with the prospect of adding 126 lodge units.

Aspen’s Community Development Department reported in 2012 that Aspen contains 1,831 lodge units. That number has changed little since, and many in the community argue that Aspen’s bed base has been declining for decades. Earlier this year, city planners reported that Aspen’s bed base declined by 27 percent between 1995 and 2006, though some residents dispute the need for more beds in town.

Mayor Steve Skadron said Friday the reported trend does enter his mind when considering applications, but “I would never lessen my scrutiny of an application or lessen my own standards or allow variances” if, in fact, Aspen is losing beds.

There is potential to add 126 lodge units between Mark Hunt’s Base1 and Base2, Michael and Aaron Brown’s Molly Gibson Lodge and Hotel Aspen, Northridge Capital’s Sky Hotel and the Hotel Jerome, which is owned by a Chicago-based group. However, there are 36 rooms to be lost between the Browns’ Mountain House Lodge and the Hotel Lenado, which was recently purchased by a Dallas company.

Councilman Adam Frisch said Friday that he is not keeping score on how many beds Aspen is gaining and losing. What he’s looking for is diversity in lodge offerings.

“We are a resort community that needs to have an ample supply of hotel rooms and different types of lodging products for a wide variety of people to come and stay and enjoy,” Frisch said. “There needs to be a variety of price points.”

Councilman Art Daily called the perceived bed-base trend a “current issue,” one that will influence decision making on new lodges — but only to a degree.

“New lodges are going to be considered each on their own merit,” Daily said. “We have a set of comprehensive land-use regulations that each lodging developer has got to take into close account.”

Base1, 730 E. Cooper Ave.

A proposed economy lodge with 170-square-foot rooms that would replace the structure that is home to Johnny McGuire’s.

Lodge-unit change: +44

Variance/waiver requests: 25.6 off-street parking spaces, affordable housing for 1.97 employees, about $40,000 in fee waivers and 4-foot height variance to allow for bathrooms.

Status: Jan. 26 public hearing at the council meeting.

Base2, 232 E. Main St.

A proposed economy lodge with 170-square-foot rooms that would replace the structure that is home to the Conoco gas station.

Lodge-unit change: +37

Variance/waiver requests: 21.6 off-street parking spaces; height (32 feet allowed and 36 feet proposed), floor area (7,500 square feet allowed and 16,700 square feet proposed), affordable housing for 2.98 employees, about $90,000 in fee waivers and setback reductions.

Status: Jan. 26 public hearing at council.

Sky Hotel, 709 E. Durant Ave.

A complete tear down and replacement of the 90-room Sky Hotel. The new lodge arrangement includes 11 fractional ownership units.

Lodge-unit change: +14

Variance/waiver requests: None.

Status: Feb. 9 public hearing at the council meeting.

Hotel Jerome, 330 E. Main St.

A fourth-story addition to the hotel’s three-story west wing and a new three-story structure behind the historic Aspen Times storefront.

Lodge-unit change: +10

Variance/waiver requests: Height (40 feet allowed and 54 feet proposed), size of two lodge units (1,500 square feet allowed and 1,970 square feet proposed), average lodge-unit size (500 square feet allowed, 569 square feet existing and 619 square feet proposed) and floor-to-ceiling heights.

Status: March 9 first reading at council.

Molly Gibson, 101 W. Main St.

A complete tear down and replacement of the 53-room hotel. Plans call for the construction of three free-market residential units and one-bedroom affordable-housing unit.

Lodge-unit change: +11

Variance/waiver requests: Cumulative floor area (22,500 square feet allowed and 26,959 square feet proposed), lodge floor area (18,000 square feet allowed and 24,672 square feet proposed), floor area of single-family homes (4,080 square feet allowed, 7,212 square feet existing and 9,000 square feet proposed) and setback reductions.

Status: Jan. 26 public hearing at the council meeting.

Hotel Aspen, 110 W. Main St.

Owners have won approval to tear down and replace the 45-room hotel. Plans include three free-market residential units, which were reduced in height to meet zoning requirements.

Lodge-unit change: +9

Status: Council approved in 2014.

Mountain House Lodge, 905 E. Hopkins Ave.

Owners have won Aspen City Council approval to tear the structure down and replace it with two single-family homes, though the applicant has agreed to explore the possibility of maintaining the lodge.

Lodge-unit change: -26

Variance/waiver requests: None.

Status: Council approved in 2014.

Hotel Lenado, 200 S. Aspen St.

A complete tear down of the 19-room lodge that would see it replaced with a structure consisting of nine lodge units, three free-market residential units and two affordable-housing units.

Lodge-unit change: -10

Variance/waiver requests: None.

Status: Hearing date to be determined. The council has an option to call up project after Planning and Zoning Commission review.


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