Letter: Defeat of Base2 is not a victory for Aspen
November 5, 2015
In all of their fervor, the opponents of Base2 have won the vote against Mark Hunt and his proposed hotel at the corner of the current Conoco station. Hunt will still be developing that space. The majority of voters have said "no" to his requests for variances to the town building code, and now he will build within them.
Those who have voted against Base2 have been led to believe that a "no" vote against Base2 would mean that Hunt would not be able to move forward with his plans to build a three-story, 35-foot-tall hotel where the Conoco gas station currently sits. This, in part, is true — he will not be able to do so. Instead, we will likely see a mixed-use building that stands at 32 feet tall on the same footprint. If limiting the size of the building was the reason for opposition to Base2, this hardly seems like a victory to celebrate.
With the building's internal square footage now limited to just 7,500 square feet, what the people have voted into being is likely yet another overpriced and underutilized storefront, with little to contribute in tax revenue back to the community and not a single amenity in return for anyone who would call themselves a local in this town. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a Chanel rise in Base2's place.
I deeply admire the people who have sought Aspen out before the rest of us. Their dedication to our community and its residents is what has allowed so many of us to thrive here. There's a romantic idea buried in the history and spirit of our town, but unfortunately, the reality is that Aspen has become a destination for the wealthy and elite, filled with designer shops, expensive restaurants and the most luxurious homes and hotels in the country. It's out of reach and irrelevant to most of us living here. Keep Aspen Aspen, they always say. In this case, I fear the opponents of Base2 have done just that.
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