Development

Your Morning News - December 17th, 2014

Dec 17, 2014

Aspen Still Debating Mark Hunt Plans

Aspen planning officials could not come to an agreement last night about whether to recommend a possible new lodge. It's one of two similar lodges proposed by Chicago developer and Aspen transplant Mark Hunt.

The meeting was already a continuation of a discussion earlier this month. Last night, Hunt and planner Mitch Haas presented the proposal again: a three story lodge with rooms under 200 square feet, to fill Aspen’s affordable lodging gap. Called Base 1 it would Include a rooftop terrace and basement amenities like a bowling alley open to all. It would be located across from City Market and Hunt explains why he sees that as a good spot.

“We have our busiest retailer across the street. There’s a gym, there are offices, there are condominium buildings that actually operate like hotels. And yeah, there are residences there. But I think it’s a very eclectic part of Aspen.”

Of about a dozen public comments, the vast majority were in favor of the proposal. But concerns about design and requested exceptions led commissioners to hang up the towel for the evening. Stan Gibbs is Commission Vice Chair, and feels the building does not fit the commercial guidelines for the lot.

“There’s a lot of residential and affordable housing around there, and I think a big building has compatibility issues.”

Hunt and Haas did not comment afterwards, but were visibly frustrated during the meeting. Commissioners will take up the issue again at the beginning of January. A city planner at the meeting last night said the proposal would still be on track to go before City Council later next month. That’s when Council will also consider a similar lodge by Hunt, called Base 2.

Your Morning News - December 16th, 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Aspen Planners Consider Mark Hunt Proposal on Lodging

Planning officials in Aspen are considering whether to allow certain exceptions for one of the development projects Mark Hunt is involved with. The Chicago businessman has purchased more than a dozen properties in town in recent years.

The project would be built on Main Street, where a Conoco gas station is now. Aspen’s planning and zoning commission is reviewing a laundry list of exceptions that Hunt is asking for. Aspen Senior planner Sara Adams says one is canceling what’s called impact fees.

“So that comes to a total of about $91,400, roughly, in impact fees.”

Hunt is also requesting a height increase, more than doubling the amount of floor space, eliminating the required two to three affordable housing units while leasing more than twenty parking spaces in the Rio Grande Parking Plaza rather than building more parking for guests.

The proposed building would be three stories tall with a gable roof and a rooftop deck. The rooms would be on the smaller side. Hunt has said the effort is to boost the affordable lodging in Aspen. Again, city planner Sara Adams

“First floor is retail, restaurant, lodge lobby. Second and third floor are all lodge rooms. You know a hundred and seventy to a hundred and eighty square feet, average size, bunk beds.”

In the basement there would be amenities like a bar and a Turkish steam bath. The proposal is goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission tonight. Members will decide what recommendations to make to City Council which will consider the proposal. Another Hunt development that’s very similar will be considered in January.

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

Guest host this week is Loren Jenkins.

This week ski season starts and there’s excitement around that, but there’s also excitement and concern, depending on whom you ask, about a developer buying up over a dozen buildings in Aspen. Meanwhile, Aspen city hall could be on the move soon. The state has taken its first shot at a unified water plan on diversions and other projects as Glenwood Springs continues to figure out how to mend fences over a new proposed bridge.

A Town meeting in Basalt got heated this week as community members and elected leaders discussed development downtown.

After scrapping a controversial ordinance, the City of Aspen is trying to find out what citizens want in local lodging.

The only contested race in Pitkin County this election is between commissioner Rob Ittner and democrat Patti Clapper. We speak with both of them.

Carbondale is getting a new laboratory that tests marijuana for contaminants.

And, Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House is saying “goodbye” to its long-time executive director.

Valley Roundup - October 24th, 2014

Oct 24, 2014

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

This week - Development is booming up and down the valley. A new hot springs in Glenwood Springs, a new hotel in Basalt and a big new bus depot in Aspen are just some of the upcoming projects. 

There is a demonstrated need for more psychiatric care in the Valley.  Officials say too many drunks and people with mental health problems wind up in jail or the ER.

Also this week newspaper endorsements and their effect on voters.

And, remembering Willard Clapper.

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Hospitals in the Roaring Fork Valley are keeping an eye on how they should be prepared for Ebola cases.

New construction gears up in Basalt on two different projects.

There’s one contested Pitkin County Commissioners’ race this election. We hear from both candidates.

A poll of Latino voters shows this group is leaning toward Democratic candidates… but a large chunk believe that party may be taking them for granted.

Marci Krivonen

Construction has started on a new 112-bed hotel in Willits that’s scheduled to open next year. At a groundbreaking event on Tuesday, developers said the hotel is another indicator of a turnaround at Willits, where work stalled during the recession. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Workers in fluorescent yellow vests dig dirt at a construction site alongside Highway 82. This is the latest sign of development and recovery at Willits.

Rob Ittner

Pitkin County voters will see one contested local race when they receive their mail ballots later this week. In the race for District One in Pitkin County, former commissioner Patti Clapper is challenging incumbent Rob Ittner. In our first report on the race, Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen sits down with Rob Ittner.

How the candidates handle growth appears to be the top issue in the race. Ittner, who has held the seat for four years, says he is pro-growth, but also agrees with the county’s land use code. It’s a document he says smartly regulates development.

Valley Roundup - October 3rd, 2014

Oct 3, 2014

Welcome to Valley Roundup a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

This week  - Aspen’s parking debacle forces the department’s director out as internal emails on the scam are released.

The owners of an Aspen penthouse are back in court.  This time its about the building’s front door which they say is for their use only.

Also this week two hotels announce big redevelopment plans.

And, prosecuting the Aspen art museum climbers

Marci Krivonen

A multi-story building in Aspen that’s been unfinished since the recession could see construction work this Fall. Developers of the Dancing Bear’s “Mountainside” building want to open the luxury residence club by the end of 2015. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Randall Bone is CEO of Sunrise Company, the development group behind the two Dancing Bear buildings. Today he’s taking a small group on a tour of the “Parkside” residence club in downtown Aspen.

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