A property owner in downtown Aspen that had originally sought to build a third-story addition has changed plans and now wants to remodel the building and have it listed as historic.
The building at 602 E. Hyman Ave., at the corner of Hunter Street, was formerly a real estate office but its commercial space is now vacant. There is an apartment on the second floor, as well as a former “bandit unit” — a residential living space that was never approved as such.
When City Council moved to downzone the downtown last spring — lowering allowed new building heights from 42 to 28 feet — the 602 E. Hyman Ave. property was among those that applied for a three-story project before the new rules took effect. Six such projects were proposed that are not OK under the more restrictive, new rules.
The applicant, Dallas-based EB Building Aspen LLC, apparently had a change of heart, and decided that a remodel to the existing two-story building would serve their needs just as well. The applicant is also seeking to build an addition on the back of the property for a garage, elevator and stairs.
“They concluded that there was a simpler approach to meet their objectives without adding a floor,” planning consultant Sunny Vann, who is working on behalf of the building owner, told City Council last week.
The project would see the upstairs apartment expanded and the bandit unit would be extinguished.
Ellie Brickham, Aspen’s first female architect, worked on the building, which qualifies it for historic designation under the Aspen Modern program, according to city planning staff. The building was built in phases in the 1960s, and although documentation is hazy, Brickham at least worked on the additions and remodels.
Brickham, who passed away in 2008, was honored by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission (HOC) in 2001 with a “honor award” for her contribution to the built environment in town. She also designed the building next door to 602 E. Hyman Ave., home to Charles Cunniffe Architects, that was recently designated as historic.
The applicant is not asking for any historic preservation benefits, other than a parking waiver. HPC has blessed the project, and Aspen City Council gave it initial approval last week. There will be a public hearing on the project at tonight’s meeting, which starts at 5 p.m.