Locals leading the last hurrah for Boogie’s building


‘Multi-media concept space’ includes clothes, gallery

The final, temporary tenant set to open in the Boogie’s space before it’s redeveloped is a retail, art gallery and event space collective that thrives on riding out the final days of a building before gentrification takes hold.

“Finding places that will soon be torn down, and getting in there after the last tenant has left and in that special zone where it’s taking too long for construction to start,” is how Rueben Sadowsky describes the group’s real estate strategy.

The method will pay off for about a month, beginning with an opening event on Jan. 13. BLK MKT, a clothing store specializing in small-batch items made in Bali, is joining forces with the Bird’s Nest Gallery and Sadowsky’s Gravity Productions, which will program events in the space. A similar concept activated the Crystal Palace building for three months last winter.

The Boogie’s building sold for $27 million in 2015 to New York-based Thor Equities, which is planning a major redevelopment of the site on one of downtown Aspen’s most prominent corners. It brought in a 12-day pop up of the Soul Cycle indoor cycling studio over the holidays.

“We are still scheduled to begin construction in the spring,” a Thor representative wrote in an email. “We are speaking with a potential tenant [to occupy the space after construction], but nothing has been signed yet.”

Artist Skye Weinglass, daughter of Boogie’s founder Boogie Weinglass, is curating the gallery. It will include about a dozen artists, both of the local emerging variety and more established practitioners from out of town. Being the last tenant in the space her father built is special, and a little sad, she said, adding she has long wanted to curate a gallery in the building’s upstairs, which was once home to the diner.

“It’s a local building and we are keeping it local, at least for one month. … The building is really special,” she said, describing the group’s intention as “to have it go out with a bang and leave it with a good energy.”

Sammy Steen, who along with Mike Delaney manages Roam Apparel, which is putting the BLK MKT store together, described the concept as a “multiple media concept space” that is designed to create community and give artists an outlet.

“Beautifully confused, that’s what we are going for,” he joked, with Sadowsky clarifying that “we know what’s going on.”

Sadowsky, who grew up in Aspen, said he knows that pop up can be a dirty word locally, implying something that is not tied to the community. Through five years of putting on events through Gravity Productions along with partners Joey Stokes and James Gorman, he said he hopes people see that’s not the case here.

The Boogie’s space is the group’s largest and most prominent location to date. Getting short-term leases has allowed them to refine their approach in a way that first their “West Coast festival lifestyle,” allowing ample off-season travel. The retail operation — which will have price points  ranging from $30 for T-shirt to $600 for a leather jacket — is the backbone the underpins the space, but ultimately it’s about a desire to bring creative people together, Delaney said.

All four say they love Aspen and consider it home, but asked if they want a permanent space here, they answered perhaps, eventually, if the right situation presented itself.

What would it take?

Sadowsky said that real estate conditions would have to change at some level.

“I can recognize that any business we want to do, it’s not likely to be able to pay what it takes to [make] the rent in Aspen,” he said. “So the conditions do have to change, but we are doing what it takes in the meantime to get ready for that.”