Aspen Club putting ‘Humpty Dumpty’ back together again
Aspen Club CEO and president Michael Fox said Thursday he expects work to resume on the facility’s mostly stalled redevelopment project this summer after financing is secured from a New York-based lender.
Until then, subcontractors who pulled out of the project last fall are seeking assurances they will be paid for future work and materials they provide.
“As long as we know we are going to get paid, we’ll consider going back,” said Tracy Forristall, the chief financial officer of Myers & Co. Architectural Metals, which filed a $1.53 million lien against Aspen Club Redevelopment Co. in September, weeks after a number of subcontractors withdrew from the project because they hadn’t been paid for their labor and materials.
Myers & Co., which is based in Basalt, has since sold the rights to the lien to another entity, “but we did not sell our contract” with the Aspen Club, Forristall noted, meaning the company could resume work on the project.
“We just need to know we’re getting paid,” she said. “It needs to be structured well before that happens.”
Fox expressed confidence the subcontractors who have worked under PCL Construction will return to 1450 Ute. Ave., which is the site of the project. That work includes the remodel of the 40,000-square-foot Aspen Club and Spa building and the construction of a 54,000-square-foot lodge with 20 timeshares, with 13,600 square feet of the development accounting for 12 multi-family affordable-housing units.
“The feedback I’ve got back from most subs is they want to come back and finish the job,” Fox said.
The liens against the Aspen Club and PCL Construction total more than $25 million.
It’s too early to speculate when the project will be done, but the new Aspen Club won’t debut until all of its phases are complete, Fox said.
The new lender is not a traditional bank, but rather an insurance company that puts money into real estate deals, “and from our perspective, that’s great,” Fox said.
The financing process has been an arduous one, he said.
“This has not been a fun process,” Fox said. “And we want to thank our banks and our team for putting up with us, and we realize the subs are not where they wish they were.
“Resurrecting Humpty Dumpty is not easy.”
The Aspen Club has been embattled by litigation in Pitkin County District Court, as well as a foreclosure process in the Treasurer’s Office by GPIF Aspen Club LLC, an entity that assumed the note in December from the FirstBank, the original lender of $45 million to the Aspen Club in May 2016. The note has a current balance of $30 million, according to the Treasurer’s Office, which has set a foreclosure sale date of Wednesday after multiple postponements.
Fox said he expects the foreclosure sale to be called off given the new financing structure that is afoot.
“I am happy to announce that we are currently under contract with new equity partners and, as of early this week, a new senior lender,” Fox wrote to Aspen Club members in an email sent out earlier this week. “As a result, our new financing will be finalized in the next 60 to 90 days and construction will resume shortly thereafter. Once construction has resumed, we will be able to provide you with more detailed information regarding the expected club opening date. This is a big win for the Aspen Club family.”
The Aspen Times previously reported that the O2 Aspen yoga studio and the Aspen Recreation Center had stopped providing benefits to Aspen Club members. Fox, however, emphasized to members in the email that other spots — Snowmass Club, Shakti Shala, The Gym of Aspen, Snowmass Recreation Center, Altitude Body Performance, TAC, and Hi2T classes at the Jewish Community Center — remain alternative work-out locations until the club reopens.
The Aspen Club will have a staff of about 250 employees when it reopens, Fox said.
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Despite nearly a month of intense investigation by two APD detectives, two investigators with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and help from an FBI agent in Glenwood Springs, the case is progressing slowly.