Accounting for solid chunk of the sales volume in the biggest month of the biggest year for Aspen commercial real estate sales, the Bidwell building sitting on the corner of Galena and Cooper recently sold to Chicago businessman Mark Hunt for $22,000,000 in late December. The building, which has been in the Bidwell family since 10th Mountain Division veteran Bert Bidwell had a two-story building housing 16,000 square feet of commercial real estate built in 1965, is now slated to be torn down, although Hunt's plans don't include any floors or space beyond the original footprint, bucking the trend of developers trying to sneak more commercial square footage and third-floor penthouses into downtown Aspen properties. While the Bidwell family had a 2008 plan for a 27,000 square foot redevelopment rejected and withdrew a second plan for a 18,000 square foot, three-story building, Hunt is operating on a no-fuss strategy for both the Bidwell building and another of his recent Aspen purchases, The Gap Building down Galena Street. Neither involve residential components, and both have large setbacks on the second floor.
Hunt may have been motivated to avoid the haggle of trying to get exceptions to Aspen's recent moratorium on downtown residential units, but in any case, he will not have to face City Council and will face an easy land-use review since neither property go beyond city height and mass limits. He'll also win plenty of local (non-realtor) friends, definitely worth a few cocktails on the house at The Red Onion.
· 2012 is record year for commercial property sales [Aspen Business Journal]
· Developer isn't going all out on downtown projects [Aspen Daily News]
· Mountain Plaza Building [Setterfield & Bright]