What was once billed as the early fall opening of Aspen’s newest luxury hotel looks more like an unfinished downtown construction project in midsummer.
Construction halted indefinitely on the shave and replacement project at 300 E. Hyman Ave., which housed the Crystal Palace Theater restaurant from 1957 to 2008. The site was closed on July 1 after experiencing low to non-existent during the second half of June. .
“The tenant is making some changes to their plans,” said Linda Manning, Aspen representative for developer Mark Hunt. “These are pretty much tenant-driven changes that need to be approved by the city.”
By “tenant,” Manning said she was referring to Hunt’s Chicago-based firm M Properties. The changes planned for the interior are “minor,” she said, adding that they are “significant enough” to require the city’s review and approval.
Responding by email Thursday evening, Hunt said, “Things should be up and running again shortly.”
Chicago-based Centaur Construction is the general contractor for the 20-room boutique hotel that RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) will operate. the lodge will be called RH Guesthouse at historic Crystal Palace. Parts of the old palace are preserved, such as the Owl Cigar mural facing Monarch.
Centaur officials were not speaking this week.
âAt this time, Centaur Construction cannot comment on the Crystal Palace,â said Brad Hirbar, who is both security officer and project manager for the redevelopment.
Garrett Larimer, a senior city planner, said the building permit for the project remains active and there are no pending applications for a review of the project. He added, however, that Hunt’s team had been in verbal contact with the city about potential revisions. The extent of those changes, beyond just affecting the interior of the building, was unknown to Manning and Larimer, they said.
BendonAdams, Aspen’s planning company that navigates the project through the review and approval process, did not respond to a phone message this week.
Manning said she was unsure how the delay would affect the project’s construction schedule or the hotel’s opening date.
A website for the project and its progress updated recent visitors about a third-floor concrete pour, scheduled for March 30, which was expected to generate heavy truck traffic in the area. This same website – http://crystalpalaceproject.com/ – On Wednesday, the fourth and final phase of the project was to be completed in August or September.
Meanwhile, HR’s quarterly report for the period ending May 1 said it is associated with three limited liability companies which “are intended to acquire, develop, operate and sell certain real estate projects in Aspen, Colorado”.
These LLCs are controlled by Hunt. The HR dossier also noted the level of its role in Aspen developments.
âAs we do not have a controlling financial interest in Aspen LLCs but have the ability to exercise significant influence over Aspen LLCs, we account for these investments using the equity method. “
Equity accounting is used by investors who own between 20% and 50% of the shares with voting rights in a company. According to documents filed with the SEC, “HR investments under the equity method represent our 50% interests in three private limited companies in Aspen.”
The company also said its investment in Aspen Ecosystem is a high risk / high reward deal.
âWhile our strategy of taking on more risk and responsibility for real estate, the development of some projects such as the Aspen project is designed to achieve better financial returns and a higher overall return on investment, we could face to increased downside risks if we encounter difficulties in implementing these strategies such as cost overruns or construction delays, âthe form states.