Construction of Crystal Palace in downtown Aspen in December.
Kelsey Brunner / The Aspen Times

Although the RH guesthouse in Aspen in the Historic Crystal Palace project has extended for another month with little noticeable progress, its building permit remains active, a city official said last week.

Since mid-June, work on the 300 E. Hyman Ave. were limited to waterproofing exterior walls and repairing exterior siding, and that’s about it.

The hotel was once slated to open in September 2021. Now it will be until at least February for something significant to happen at the site, people familiar with the project said. HR and developer Mark Hunt collaborate on the hotel.

Part of the delay is due to the project team looking for new interior changes to the top floor of the building, which would require city approval.

“The owner has chosen to suspend work,” Amy Simon, director of urban planning, said in an email Thursday responding to a question from Aspen Times about the status of the project. “The City cannot explain why this decision was made, other than the fact that we know it wishes to revise certain aspects of its approvals. “

In 2018, Hunt received approval to build the 20-room hotel, as well as a spa, fitness center, swimming pool, restaurant, cafe, and rooftop terrace.

Construction began in 2019 on the 9,000 square foot lot where the Crystal Palace operated from 1957 to 2008. The historic brick wall of the two-story building facing Monarch Street, with the Owl Cigar mural, remains intact, but the rest of the structure has been demolished. So far, the 26-foot-deep basement has been excavated at the site, with full-scale development requiring two full floors and a recessed third floor.

“After a few months of discussing how to keep the proposed changes within the land use code for the project, they have received an ‘OK’ and are in the process of submitting plans to restart the permit review. “said Simon. . “The building department has determined that their contact with our offices is sufficient for their originally issued permit to be in good standing and eligible for submission of a change request. “

The general contractor for the project, Centaur, is also disappearing from the picture with GF Woods used as a replacement, sources said. Contacted last week, project manager Brad Hirbar, of Centaur, and Greg Woods, of GF Woods, declined to comment.

“We cannot provide an estimate of when the change order might be issued or when construction will resume, except to say that progress cannot cease for more than six months or the permit will expire,” Simon’s email said.

It was around the same time last year – January 5 – that RH announced its vision for an “Aspen ecosystem”. The Corte Madera, Calif., Based company formerly known as Restoration Hardware said the Aspen project would be the first of its kind, with a gallery, restaurant, hotel, residential projects and worker housing. .

Three SARLs controlled by Hunt, each of which RH holds at least 50% of the stake, are at the origin of the development of the ecosystem. The LLCs were formed for the purpose of “acquiring, developing, operating and selling certain real estate projects in Aspen, Colorado,” according to an HR public record. RH initially invested $ 99.2 million with a commitment of up to $ 105 million.

“As we do not have a controlling financial interest in Aspen LLC, but we have the ability to exercise significant influence over Aspen LLC, we account for these investments using the equity method,” according to the report. HR annual report filed on March 30, 2021..

And in the third quarter of fiscal 2021, RH “purchased an additional 20% stake in one of Aspen’s LLCs, which continues to be accounted for as an investment under the equity method,” said declared the company.

In addition to the former location of Crystal Palace, other plans for the Aspen ecosystem include the HR Residences in the historic Boomerang Lodge and the HR Residency on the Red Mountain.

GF Woods is also the general contractor for the RH Design Gallery project at the corner of Galena Street and Cooper Avenue. The Bidwell building was demolished last year.

“Right now we’re in the middle of the excavation and the earth retention system is being installed,” said Woods. “This work is going well and should be completed in early February, then we will move on to the basics of the work.”

At this time, RH and its partner / developer Hunt do not speak publicly about the status of the RH Guesthouse.

RH is listed on the stock exchange and its financial year ends at the end of January.

“We have not officially announced the timing of the opening and are unable to comment on construction details,” said an HR spokesperson in an email response to a question from the Aspen Times. .

Hunt is also calm. Linda Manning, of Hunt’s M Development, said in an email “we don’t have any comments at this time.”

Principles with project planner Bendon Adams, of Aspen, also declined to comment, referring questions to Manning.

Comments from the top HR executive earlier this year, as well as references in public documents, predicted an opening in fall 2022. These statements were made, however, before construction was suspended in July caused by charges. unpaid encroachment, which Hunt repaid to the town.

“We plan to open our first guesthouse in New York this fall, followed by our second guesthouse in Aspen, which will include our first RH Bath House & Spa, in fall 2022,” said the CEO of HR, Gary Friedman, in a Fourth Quarterly Report for 2000, also a letter to shareholders, filed March 24, 2021, with the SEC. “We are currently in the process of developing the design of our first HR residences as part of our larger Aspen ecosystem and have already received several unsolicited offers to buy the homes blind and to place deposits to reserve a home. House. We believe that the revolutionary design of guesthouses and residences has the potential to create entirely new markets in their respective industries, while positioning HR as a thought leader, creator of tastes and places.

RH was also sticking to the second half of 2022 for the hotel to open in an 8-K report filed on June 9.

“We will also unveil our first RH Bath House & Spa as part of our Aspen Guesthouse slated to open in the second half of 2022, along with other exciting spaces that we will unveil over the next few years,” the company said. in the repository.

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