Paradise will work things out
As unfortunate as it is, Aspen is a “work in progress.” It’s been that way since early miners worked their way from Leadville to this valley in search of precious metals. Their discoveries forced the Indians, who lived peacefully hunting and fishing, to leave the area.
Andy and Nikos Hecht are doing what’s gone on here for over 100 years. They’re not evil. They have purchased properties, played by the rules, and changed the downtown Aspen landscape.
The Hechts bought Volk Plaza from willing sellers, and Paradise Bakery is simply another casualty. It’s unfortunate, but true. That building is theirs to do with what they please as long as they go through the proper channels.
Are their buildings ugly? No. They provide more shopping and dining venues. I love the glass that allows light on to the street. Their buildings are far nicer than the Aspen Art Museum that covers a quarter of a city block, has horrible and weedy gardens, and not one regular parking place in the downtown area.
Mark and Danny Patterson have known since 2016 that the owners of the building were making alternate arrangements for that particular spot. Since then, the Hechts have been very generous by making suggestions and introductions to help them find a new spot. News flash: Most landlords don’t do that.
To say that they don’t care is outrageous. Obviously they do. If the Pattersons can negotiate a spot on the mall across from the Wheeler Opera House, it will actually benefit them. Their current location doesn’t provide for enough outdoor seating or area for musicians. It’s too small. Kids can have far more fun in the fountain while dripping in melted ice cream and slathered in sunblock, a matter of steps to Wagner Park and swings, and (most of all) the public bathrooms and water drinking fountains. There are also restaurants close enough for parents and grandparents to grab a snack or meal, while watching the little ones exhaust themselves.
Change is painful, and we have a tendency not to like it. But sometimes, in the long run, we come to accept it and it works out.