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High Points: Flip Town

It was five decades ago, back in 1970, that the Freak Power platform and Hunter S. Thompson proposed changing the name of Aspen to “Fat City.” Maybe, given the dynamics of the day, we should call it “Flip Town.”

Earlier this month many of us were shocked when the news came of the “flip” of a single acre of land with approvals for a hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. The sellers, who had purchased the property for $10 million from the Aspen Skiing Company in July of 2021, sold it to an entity controlled by Russian born developer Vladislav Doronin for an astounding $76.1 million.

Then on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Tommy Hilfiger family “legacy property,” on the other end of the base of Aspen Mountain, “flipped” for $50 million, $19 million more than they had paid for it in December. It seems the best way make money in Aspen is to have money. The Hilfiger sale was to an unnamed buyer behind an LLC named Silk Trail LLC. Poetic.



Dirt is like gold in this old silver town. The demand has far outstripped supply and they aren’t making any more of that supply. What is here is all there is and the old axiom, “Location, Location, Location” is the only adage that matters.

Real estate booms are the norm for Aspen and they have swelled like an ever growing set of waves since the Aspen Skiing Company started running the lifts 75 seasons ago. Each bigger and more robust than one before. But never, not here or really anywhere on the planet, have we seen a market quite like this one. “I guess everything has a price,” said the broker who arranged the Hilfiger sale in what is, thus far, the understatement of the year.




That price right now, according to yesterday’s paper, is $16.1 million, the average price of the average single-family home in Aspen sold this year through February according to a report issued this week by Land Title Guarantee Co.

This paper has long run a weekly piece on Mondays titled “What’s the Big Deal?” that profiles the previous week’s most expensive property transaction. In December it featured a residential sale in the Maroon Creek neighborhood that had been purchased in September then flipped for a $19 million price representing a $5.3 million profit in less than three months. I remember reading the piece and was astounded. But that clearly was just the beginning.

If there is a high point here, I guess it is belongs to the Hilfigers, the Norway Island LLC partnership including Jim DeFrancia, Jeff Gorsuch and Bryan Peterson who sold the prime piece of the Lift One corridor, and any and all of their representatives. I’m not sure anyone else benefits from this flipping exuberance that has embraced Aspen.

With the demand and the supply at opposite ends of the spectrum, and the amount of liquid wealth that is in the hands of buyers, expect more stories of homes changing hands without regard to traditional market dynamics like comps or price per foot or even common sense.

It’s flipping crazy.Flip Town

It was five decades ago, back in 1970, that the Freak Power platform and Hunter S. Thompson proposed changing the name of Aspen to “Fat City.” Maybe, given the dynamics of the day, we should call it “Flip Town.”

Earlier this month, many of us were shocked when the news came of the “flip” of a single acre of land with approvals for a hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. The sellers, who had purchased the property for $10 million from Aspen Skiing Co. in July of 2021, sold it to an entity controlled by Russian born developer Vladislav Doronin for an astounding $76.1 million.

Then on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Tommy Hilfiger family “legacy property,” on the other end of the base of Aspen Mountain, “flipped” for $50 million, $19 million more than they had paid for it in December. It seems the best way make money in Aspen is to have money. The Hilfiger sale was to an unnamed buyer behind an LLC named Silk Trail LLC. Poetic.

Dirt is like gold in this old silver town. The demand has far outstripped supply and they aren’t making any more of that supply. What is here is all there is, and the old axiom “location, location, location” is the only adage that matters.

Real estate booms are the norm for Aspen and they have swelled like an ever growing set of waves since Aspen Skiing Co. started running the lifts 75 seasons ago, each bigger and more robust than the one before. But never, not here or really anywhere on the planet, have we seen a market quite like this one. “I guess everything has a price,” said the broker who arranged the Hilfiger sale in what is, thus far, the understatement of the year.

That price right now, according to yesterday’s paper, is $16.1 million, the average price of the average single-family home in Aspen sold this year through February, according to a report issued this week by Land Title Guarantee Co.

This paper has long run a weekly piece on Mondays titled “What’s the Big Deal?” that profiles the previous week’s most expensive property transaction. In December it featured a residential sale in the Maroon Creek neighborhood that had been purchased in September then flipped for a $19 million price, representing a $5.3 million profit in less than three months. I remember reading the piece and was astounded. But that clearly was just the beginning.

If there is a high point here, I guess it belongs to the Hilfigers; the Norway Island LLC partnership including Jim DeFrancia, Jeff Gorsuch and Bryan Peterson, who sold the prime piece of the Lift One corridor; and any and all of their representatives. I’m not sure anyone else benefits from this flipping exuberance that has embraced Aspen.

With the demand and the supply at opposite ends of the spectrum, and the amount of liquid wealth that is in the hands of buyers, expect more stories of homes changing hands without regard to traditional market dynamics like comps or price per foot or even common sense.

It’s flipping crazy.


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