A dormant construction site for more than three years, the Aspen Club is poised in 2021 to restart its townhome, athletic club remodel and employee housing project, a managing partner in the redevelopment said Tuesday.
Clark Briner, a principal of Revere Capital — which is among the creditors of the Aspen Club’s former owners — said that along with a resort development partner, it would work to complete the unfinished club and spa building at 1450 Ute Ave., 20 condominiums that could be sold with up to 160 fractional shares and 12 employee housing units.
On Jan. 6, the property sold in foreclosure for $52,588,499 to GPIF Aspen Club, a limited liability company which had been pursuing the foreclosure, said Sydney Tofany, public trustee and deputy treasurer for Pitkin County. GPIF tendered the only bid.
“The sale is done. Who ends up with the property, that’s still in limbo,” Tofany said this week.
The public trustee generates the certificate of purchase, and the title then vests to whomever ends up as the controlling entity, she said.
From his local office in the Aspen Elk’s Building, Briner said via phone interview Tuesday that he intended to complete the notice of redemption and be a pivotal part of the group that assumes the ownership from GPIF Aspen Club.
GPIF was assigned the original $45 million loan and security agreement, initially recorded in May 2016 and issued by FirstBank and Aspen Club Redevelopment Company LLC. At the time, the Aspen Club was managed by Michael Fox.
Big plans, big crews
The redevelopment broke ground in the fall of 2016 and at one time saw up to 200 laborers on site. Fox and associates had for years worked on approvals with Aspen City Council but seemed less prepared for the ascending costs to complete the project.
By November 2017, FirstBank had started an initial foreclosure process — but would then push back the deadline for the proceedings multiple times. The $45 million note was acquired by GPIF Aspen Club the following month, and it would attempt a foreclosure of the Aspen Club in March 2018.
As the club’s owners were seeking resources to pay creditors and keep the project moving, Revere Capital stepped in to provide a $15 million bridge loan, Briner confirmed.
“We originated a second loan to help Michael in the transitional period,” he said.
While GPIF Aspen Club, which Briner said is connected to the larger Crescent Real Estate Holdings, is the senior creditor. “I have the right to buy them out,” Briner said, adding it’s an action Reserve Capital intends to pursue.
GPIF Aspen Club is represented by Senn Visciano Canges, corporate and securities attorneys headquartered in Denver. Michel P. Williams, who represented GPIF in the foreclosure, could not be reached for comment Tuesday by press time.
Between now and Jan. 19, junior lien holders of the Aspen Club foreclosure can file an intent to redeem, according to Pitkin County’s Tofany.
Briner said he is assured that wouldn’t come to pass.
“There are going to be no junior line holders objecting,” he said, suggesting that settlements had been made on mechanical liens once in excess of $25 million against the club and its general contractor, PCL Construction Services.
A mechanic’s lien is a way for contractors and subcontractors to get paid, as the action may prevent a property owner from selling or transferring property. Contractors have up to 120 days from their final date of work to file a lien.
“Through this two-to-three-year unfortunate situation, all the creditors worked together,” Briner said. “Everybody wants this project back online again and to be an asset to the city.” He added that he hoped “to have it restored to the same level of benefit to the city and the folks here [within the next 18 months].”
Way forward expected soon
Weighing in at about 130,000 square feet in total, the Aspen Club redevelopment comes with approvals that Fox worked hard to secure, Briner said.
Fox, who purchased the Aspen Club in 1996, could not be reached this week for comment and will not be involved in the club’s next incarnation. His affiliation with the Aspen Club ceased in September.
Briner said the Aspen Club redevelopment will be finished by Revere Capital and partner Meriwether Co., which manages clubs and develops mountain-resort communities. In a Feb. 27 press release, Meriwether, a private real estate and development firm based in Boulder, announced it would embark on a master-planned, full-service resort development in California’s Coachella Valley that includes a wave park.
Here in Aspen, waiting to be completed by Revere Capital and Meriwether Co. are the Aspen Club and spa building, condominiums to house fractional shareholders and employee housing units.
First opened in the 1970s with an original focus on tennis and paddle sports, the Aspen Club’s direction expanded its emphasis on wellness, fitness and rehabilitation under Fox’s tutelage.
Briner said the opportunity to complete what the former owners started at the Aspen Club is unique and that the new group has the ability to get it done.
“We want the community to know we are here to put this back online. We are fully capitalized; there will be no more undercapitalized developers running it,” Briner said.
During a 2018 interview with the Aspen Daily News, Michael Fox said it would take about $100 million to settle old debts and finish the project.
Briner said the developers will be issuing “a comprehensive statement in seven or eight days, when we own title.”