Scott: Inquiring minds
“You break it, you buy it,” or so the saying goes. The investor group behind Mark Hunt seems to buy the real estate before it breaks the businesses inside, boards up the buildings, or tears them down.
Could the shuttered buildings and voids in the ground all over town really be more about funneling workers to Aspen’s biggest monopolists? How would the labor pool hold up if all those restaurants, boutique stores, and hotels were suddenly open? And how much more housing would be needed for those workers? Every business that closes creates new worker inventory in a very tight and expensive labor market.
I wonder if some of the mystery money behind Hunt is invested in keeping workers available by investing in the shuttering of the competition. But you can still find a snack at the Limelight, or The Little Nell, or any of the many ridiculously-overpriced restaurants on U.S. Forest Service land — many of which the only price of admission to is a $200 a day lift ticket.
The ownership behind Skico made some investments in Hunt’s business in Chicago back in the early 2000s, but then he got smacked in the 2008 crash. Then suddenly, he turns up on the Aspen scene with a purse the likes of which no other individual has ever gone on such a one-town, real-estate buying spree with.
If some had already monopolized a huge portion of the workforce (The city and county are in the running here) that they were already buying up free-market real estate, even competing with APCHA to house their own workers, wouldn’t it be nice for them to have a front man who’d face the brunt of negative press and who’d make sure the government was in line (what better way than to get them to swallow an Aspen Walmart (RH) ecosystem coming to town)?
“Who does No. 2 work for?” thus asked Austin Powers. It’s a good question.
No matter who his investors are, he’s built up over $100 million in debt buying up Aspen property. It would be an understatement to call him over-leveraged. Hunt shines like a front man. The rest of his band are outstanding for their invisibility. Calling all investigative journalists.