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New Hotel Project Planned to Revive Aspen's 1A Base

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Hot on the heels of the news that Aspen Skiing Co. wants to start construction on a new Lift 1A this summer, plans for a hotel project at the lift's base were announced last week. That's good news for Aspen's chances of keeping the 2017 World Cup Finals, as the FIS mentioned both how moribund the 1A base has become and the importance of replacing lift. The developers behind the Gorsuch Haus project unveiled their plans at the Limelight Hotel to a crowd of hundreds of Aspen residents and skiers, according to the Aspen Times. The 75,000-square-foot project, which would step up the mountain from the realigned base to the Norway Island glade, is set to include a 61-room hotel, seven rental condos and six condos for sale on the open market.

The developers also touted that the project will mitigate 100 percent of its employee housing requirements, with a quarter of that being done on site. Jim DeFrancia — who is president of one of the development firms, Lowe Enterprises, and has deep roots in Aspen — said during last week's announcement that the project is not seeking any city code variances, which would put the project through additional scrutiny.

Some of the critiques that came up during the meeting were the location of the bottom lift terminal (DeFrancia said nothing about Gorsuch Haus would prevent it from being lower), the hard right that it may take to get from the Norway Trail to the lift loading area and whether or not it would make Aspen look more like Vail, which is a comparison never meant as a compliment.

DeFrancia told those gathered at the unveiling that the partners are looking to submit an application to the city by the end of December, putting them on track to be before the Planning and Zoning Commission in March and in front of the City Council by June or July. The partners have an agreement to buy the land from Skico.

Jeff Gorsuch, the eponymous partner behind Gorsuch Haus, told the Aspen Times that he's keeping the FIS abreast of developments around the 1A base, which include new townhomes that have broken ground and a stalled hotel project that has changed hands, but there's no way Gorsuch Haus will be completed by the March 2017 World Cup Finals. Hopefully, the steps being taken to spruce up the 1A base are enough to satisfy the FIS for now while the redevelopment is ongoing.

· Gorsuch Haus [Official site]
· Gorsuch Haus hotel plan unveiled to hundreds in Aspen [Aspen Times]
· Aspen Skiing Co. Wants to Start Lift 1A Construction Next Summer [Curbed Ski]
· The International Ski Federation Wants to Race in Aspen [Curbed Ski]
· What's the Skinny on the Aspen Development Scene? [Curbed Ski]