Guest commentary: Developers address big questions about Lift One Corridor Plan
February 12, 2019
As the development partners for the Lift One Corridor Plan, we want to address three of the most commonly asked questions associated with the plan before you vote.
We will provide housing in Aspen for 67 employees before Lift One Lodge and Gorsuch Haus open. This is fully compliant with the city of Aspen's land-use code.
Ongoing support for Affordable Housing: Both Lift One Lodge and Gorsuch Haus will contribute significant and ongoing funding for affordable housing through the housing sales tax and the Real Estate Transfer Tax. Over the next 30 years, the two lodges will generate an estimated $42 million in housing funds, enough to build 168 units and house approximately 336 people.
To put this amount in context, that is enough to build twice as much housing planned for Burlingame Phase 3.
City of Aspen Financial Investment
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How much: $4.36 million maximum investment by the city. Any cost overruns will be paid by Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge.
It can only be spent on public elements of the plan: Relocating and refurbishing the Skiers Chalet Lodge, which will be owned by the Aspen Historical Society, and upgrades to Dean Street required in part to serve the new ski area portal. None of the money is going to the developers.
Additionally, the city will not pay any money toward the Lift One Corridor Plan until the new lift is installed and in working condition.
Why we asked the city to participate: The city initiated the Lift One Corridor Plan by asking Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge to redesign their buildings to accommodate relocation of Lift 1A. It is this relocation of the lift into town and creation of public ski area portal that makes this a fundamentally different plan and is the driver of the city's financial participation in the development of public infrastructure.
Can it go back to City Council?
No. This is the only chance for a mountain portal with a new lift at Dean Street.
The Lift One Corridor Plan is the result of 18 months of technical site planning with SE Group (for the lift alignment), Aspen Skiing Co., Aspen Historical Society, both lodge developers and the city of Aspen Community Development, Parks and Engineering departments.
Lift One Lodge has an existing approval from 2011. State law does not allow for more than 10 years in extensions of development rights. Because of the limited remaining time before that state deadline is reached, the only option remaining will be to build the existing approval if the vote fails. The 2011 approval does not have room for the lift to come down.
So many people and organizations have collaborated to present the Lift One Corridor Plan to the community. This is our chance to bring the lift down, preserve and revitalize two historic buildings and historic Lift 1, open a museum celebrating our skiing history, and create a mountain portal park about the size of Wagner Park.
Please vote "yes" for the Lift One corridor.
Jeff Gorsuch, part of the Gorsuch Haus team, and his family have been in the retail business in Aspen for more than 40 years, most recently with Gorsuch LTD. Michael Brown, part of the Lift One Lodge team, has owned the Molly Gibson Lodge and Hotel Aspen for nearly two decades. Editor's note: Leading up to the March 5 municipal election, The Aspen Times is publishing one guest commentary from each candidate or group.