Aspen Business

Good afternoon, it’s Mountain Edition.

Residents in the Mid-Valley saw federal agents in tactical gear this week. We’ll tell you why.

A police officer involved in a controversial arrest of an Aspen teenager says he’s leaving the department.

Proponents and opponents of a ballot measure to change Aspen’s land use code sound off at a town hall meeting.

A beloved restaurant in Aspen will keep its doors open longer than expected.

And, a popular Aspen bike-sharing program wants to expand its reach.

Town Hall Meeting on the “Keep Aspen Aspen” ballot referendum recorded on Wednesday March 25th, 2015 at the Belly Up Aspen.

The forum is moderated by Aspen Public Radio News Director Carolyn Sackariason and features supporters and opponents of the May 5th ballot measure that would force a public vote for development variances over a particular threshold.

The future owner of the space where Finbarr’s Irish Pub and Kitchen is located says he plans to keep it as a bar and restaurant. Karim Souki says he is looking for an operator to run a place where locals will come. When the establishment will open is unknown, but it could be months after Finbarr’s April 2nd closing. That’s partly because the adjacent “speakeasy” space needs to be remodeled and will be part of the new restaurant.

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

Once again, Aspen will play host to the First Lady. Michelle Obama is expected to be in town this weekend.

An Aspen teenager arrested and taken down by police officers gets an attorney. Police suspect the teen had marijuana.

Aspen City Council supports an affordable housing project from a prolific landowner. But, a tree nearly derails the approval.

The new Airport Director in Aspen talks about plans to improve the experience of flying into the Upper Valley.

Your Morning News - February 11th, 2015

Feb 11, 2015

Aspen Development Proposal to Go to Ballot

The Aspen City Clerk says a proposed charter amendment about development in Aspen will be on the ballot this Spring. That follows the collection of enough signatures by Aspen residents. Ballots for the mail-in election will go out in the spring. Election Day is May Fifth.

Your Evening News - February 10th, 2015

Feb 10, 2015

Hotel Jerome Sold for $69.1 Million to Auberge Board Member

The historic Hotel Jerome sold for $69.1 Million on Monday according to Pitkin County assessor records. The sale makes it one of the largest commercial real estate transactions for a single property in downtown Aspen in recent years.

The new owner is Houston businessman Dan Friedkin. He also bought an adjacent property for $3.35 Million that was once the Aspen Times office. Friedkin is the majority shareholder of Auberge Resorts Collection – the company that manages the Jerome, along with other high-end hotels.

The seller was Chicago-based Don Wilson, the managing partner of DRW Real Estate. He bought the 93-room hotel on Main Street out of foreclosure in 2009 for between $25 to $36 Million, according to conflicting media reports. DRW then invested over $20 Million on a major renovation of the 113,000 square foot building in 2012.

Tony DiLucia is the hotel’s general manager. He says he couldn’t more pleased to have Friedkin as the new owner.

“So, here is a guy that truly wants to be in the hospitality, hotel business. Again, it’s handing over stewardship. Don did his magic with his team and re-did this whole hotel which we are so grateful for. They are into the whole what this hotel means to our community.”

All operations and staff will remain the same at the Hotel Jerome.

Your Morning News - February 5th, 2015

Feb 5, 2015

Calls Come for Increased Vaccination Rates

Pitkin County’s public health clinic is seeing a rise in the number of people requesting vaccinations for measles. The majority of calls are from parents checking on their children’s vaccine history and adults seeking vaccinations.

The local spike in interest comes after a measles outbreak started in California and spread to fourteen states. Pitkin County Public Health Director Liz Stark says she’s happy to see the uptick in interest.

“We are definitely being impacted by what’s going on in the country. And, the positive thing is that the calls we’re getting are from people interested in making sure they’re vaccinated and up to date on their vaccines.”

She thinks the Roaring Fork Valley is generally in favor of vaccines. Five percent of students in Aspen’s School District are not vaccinated.

“That means that only five percent of the children have opted out of vaccines for either religious or personal exemption. That’s really good compared to other communities around the country.”

But, Colorado as a whole has a low vaccination rate. The Denver Post reports, the state is dead last for vaccinating kindergartners for measles, mumps and rubella. The Roaring Fork School District with schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs did not respond to a request for vaccination rates.

Your Evening News - February 4th, 2015

Feb 4, 2015

Retail Sales in Aspen Up 10% in 2014

The city sales tax report for 2014 is in. It appears the Aspen economy has more than rebounded.

People in Aspen shopped more, drank more, ate more and consumed pot more in 2014 than the previous year.

That’s according a recently-released sales tax consumption report, which shows economic activity within the city of Aspen last year is up 10 percent over 2013. That amounts to nearly $624 million in commerce.

Sports equipment, clothing and luxury goods were up significantly for the year. Combined, those categories generated around $153 million in sales. Restaurant and bars were up 11 percent, bringing in about $111 million dollars. And with recreational marijuana coming on the scene last March, sales in that category spiked dramatically. The liquor and marijuana category saw an increase of 25 percent, generating more than $13 million throughout 2014. All of those industries posted increases for the month of December as well. Another big gain last year was revenue generated by accommodations up thirteen percent. That amounts to more than one-hundred-seventy-three million dollars that flowed into the local economy.

The city sales tax report for 2014 is in. It appears the Aspen economy has more than rebounded. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason reports.

People in Aspen shopped more, drank more, ate more and consumed pot more in 2014 than the previous year.

That’s according a recently-released sales tax consumption report, which shows economic activity within the city of Aspen last year is up 10 percent over 2013. That amounts to nearly $624 million in commerce.

Your Evening News - January 20th, 2015

Jan 20, 2015

Mark Hunt to Take Aspen’s Questions at Public Forum

The man who controls the majority of buildings in downtown Aspen will speak publicly for the first time to the community on his future plans. Aspen Business Events is hosting a question-and-answer session with Mark Hunt. Along with investors, Hunt has amassed 15 buildings in the commercial core and has invested more than $100 million in real estate in the city. The event will take place on Thursday at 5pm at BB’s Kitchen. Two Hunt proposals for low-cost hotels go before the Aspen City Council on Monday.

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