The building currently leased to The Gap on Galena Street was sold Thursday to an undisclosed buyer for $13.25 million.
The sale comes amidst plans to redevelop the building and parking lot next door into five street-level retail spaces, plus a second level restaurant space with a large outdoor deck.
The property’s seller is Colorado Cable Co. of Little Rock, Ark. That company’s principal, Jerald Barnett, built the building in 1992, and according to the Pitkin County Assessor’s Office, the land was purchased for $222,222. The property’s actual value is $8.845 million, according to assessor records.
The buyer is listed as 204 South Galena Street, LLC. Curt Sanders, an attorney with Sherman & Howard law firm in Aspen, is representing the buyer. Sanders declined to disclose who the principals are behind the LLC, saying he was instructed by his clients to keep their identity private.
“[The buyers] want to protect their privacy and anonymity,” Sanders said.
He did say that the principals behind the LLC are not local residents but are familiar with Aspen.
The Gap will likely vacate the space, which has been leased to the national retailer since at least the mid-1990s. Sanders said The Gap has been informed of the plans for the space — which if the new owners receive final approval scheduled for December — could be torn down as soon as this spring.
The property has been under contract for several months, which was known by City Hall officials when 204 South Galena Street, LLC submitted a land-use application for redevelopment earlier this year.
The application was one of several submitted by downtown commercial property owners this past spring, before a new zoning rule passed by Aspen City Council took effect on May 1 that limits building heights to 28 feet in most of the downtown core.
Prior to the new law, buildings could be developed up to 42 feet tall in the commercial core zone district and 40 feet tall in the C-1 zone district that borders it to the east.
Eight of the 11 downtown development applications are seeking some kind of new third-story element, with most of them being free-market condos. The Gap building is not one of them.
“The developer could have built a three-level building, but I am very excited for the town that this will only be a one-and-a-half story new building,” said real estate broker Lorrie Winnerman of Lorrie B Aspen, in a press release announcing the sale.
There was no listing broker for the sale. Winnerman and commercial broker Karen Setterfield of Setterfield & Bright assisted in the transaction.
Sanders said the new owners are making a concerted effort to not develop the property to the max.
“What you are seeing with respect to the property is a great community asset,” he said. “The restaurant will be stepped back [from the street] with a public amenity space up there. … It could have been pushed more.”
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) gave the redevelopment conceptual approval on Aug. 8, said Sara Adams, the city’s senior planner. The land-use application is scheduled for final review by the HPC on Dec. 12. City Council approval is not required under the proposal. The proposed new building is designed by Charles Cunniffe Architects, Inc.
According to the application on file in the city’s community development department, there will be a second floor on top of the eastern portion of the new building, where a privately-leased parking lot currently exists and is accessed from Hopkins Avenue.
Excavation work was done last Saturday in the parking lot where workers were taking soil samples and checking the stability underground for a new building there.
Sanders said that work was the last piece of the due-diligence process before closing the deal.
There will be a rooftop deck on the single-story portion of the building along Galena Street where a restaurant will be located.
The existing space does not currently have a “public amenity” but under redevelopment rules, a minimum of 10 percent of the square footage is required to be dedicated to that type of space, according to city documents.
The seven parking spaces behind the building, if removed, must be mitigated with cash-in-lieu at a rate of $30,000 a space, according to the city.
City code requires that for every 1,000 square feet of new net leasable space, one parking space is required, or a cash-in-lieu fee. But according to the land-use application, the owners plan to not have any new leasable space because the basement will not be part of the development.
The property is 9,000 square feet, which includes the existing building and the parking area. The existing building is approximately 6,000 square on the street level with approximately 6,000 square feet of basement space.