Rental rates cripple Aspen retailers

After reading the latest article about the Skye Gallery losing its lease from its current location in downtown Aspen, I question: If it’s not totally the greed of the landlords, then who sets the untenable prices on commercial rent in downtown Aspen? The developers from “anywhere”? Who is in charge of setting the bar?

The internationalization of downtown Aspen and the closing of solid local businesses is so out of control and no one seems to know how to stop it, or even knows who is really in charge. Clearly the developers, generally removed from the Aspen character, are in charge with no other goal than their bottom line. The reasoning, according to the article, is to increase the value of the building so they can sell it for more.

Who in Aspen is in charge of development and growth, and who gets to design the future of what our town will look like commercially? Skye Gallery is one of the last local businesses to survive, until now. And, to me, a huge loss, even if she does stay open and move somewhere else. When will enough rent be enough? $35,000/month, more? Who can sustain that? No one.

That’s why Aspen retail establishments, including restaurants, are now facing extinction. As for funk and character, it is and has slipped away. Who is in charge, I ask again?

Linda Maslow