Paradise exit makes no sense

I haven’t been around Aspen much for the last 30 years, but I do try to keep up. I don’t recall a more blatant example of raw, unvarnished personal greed destroying such an important piece of Aspen’s community fabric than the Hecht’s decision not to renew Paradise Bakery’s lease.

It’s also just bad business. As a commercial real estate developer myself, I cannot fathom any reason, given identical rental income, why a landlord would choose a low-traffic-generating business like Loro Piana over a traffic-generating iconic gold mine like the Paradise Bakery. You develop around invaluable assets like that, not destroy them or run them off to a competing developer only blocks away.

Additionally, given the Paradise’s track-record and franchised growth, I would think they would be considered a low-risk “credit tenant.” I don’t know much about Loro Piana, but we all know businesses like that come and go like leaves in the Aspen wind. As a landlord, business like that are a huge financial risk. Minimizing financial risk is the paramount objective of commercial real estate development.

Given so many inexplicable decisions, I can only conclude that the Hechts don’t know what they’re doing, which seems unlikely, or something about this deal is not on the up and up. If the Hechts have something else up their Trojan sleeves, I believe the community has a right to know what that is.

Todd Stone

Salt Lake City