Letter: Power Plant deal is half cooked

There’s something about this Power Plant thing that just doesn’t feel right. The whole upstairs concept sounds great. Shared office spaces at reasonable rents with all the latest high-tech communications bells and whistles. A place for ideas to begin, be nourished and grow.

Who could argue that this is not the perfect location for such an “incubator” for the seeds of “mind, body and spirit?” Even the outdoor surroundings, with its park like setting and the serenity of the river, make for a perfect match.

So why do the proponents of this commendable idea insist on a beer garden/restaurant component? (Apologies for these designations if they are not quite precise). A brief Google search of successful shared office spaces in the Denver area did not come up with any needing a retail component. The tenants are asking the city to lease the upstairs space for $10 a year; at that cost it seems reasonable that the 65 shared spaces could be rented at an affordable rate to aspiring entrepreneurs. Whatever shortfalls in operating revenue would be made up by contributions from a supportive public.

Isn’t this the beauty of a nonprofit? To have the venture supported by an ideal and not because it is an individual’s profit-making business plan.

Even with the latest revelation regarding zoning, it doesn’t appear as though the current zoning extends to bar, restaurant, diner, brewery, snack bar, beer garden or anything of that ilk.

Aspen City Council, admit you made a mistake. Allow the upstairs incubator space. However, the proposed downstairs uses are not just a bad fit, but an impossible fit. Put the lower space back out to bid for one of those nonprofit parties that previously showed an interest. A retail operation supporting a nonprofit? It just doesn’t sound right.

Some of the rationale presented for the downstairs use sounds disingenuous. Every effort is being made to get an incompatible component to fit into the nonprofit mold. The square peg just will not fit in the round hole.

To all parties involved, act with integrity and do what’s honorable. This could be a great introductory lesson to the future entrepreneurs upstairs.

Will Kane