Aspen club

The stalled Aspen Club redevelopment was facing a make-or-break deadline next week where its property was to be sold through the foreclosure process unless debtors and creditors could come to an arrangement.

But like many such deadlines over the last seven months, it will come and go, according to Aspen Club President Michael Fox, as the club’s current ownership, its lender and construction firms, which are owed millions, continue negotiating a recapitalization plan.

Meanwhile, Aspen Club members who were still paying dues and getting access to other athletic facilities were informed this week that all but handful of those reciprocal arrangements are coming to an end, while the club puts their memberships on an indefinite hold.

March 7 will be one year from the first scheduled foreclosure sale date, which has been repeatedly delayed. State statute requires that within a year of the initial sale date, a sale either goes forward or the holder of the debt starts the process over, officials with the Pitkin County Treasurer’s Office said on Friday. The club had until noon on Monday to submit an in-house bid to forestall the sale.

Fox said Friday night that the deadline has again been pushed back, now until the end of the month.

“We have been working closely with all interested parties,” Fox said. “We have good working relationships. We are trying to figure out what is best for everyone and this is what is best for everyone.”

An investment group registered to an Atlanta address incorporated as Aspen Club Partners LLC filed a form in late December with the  Securities and Exchange Commission indicating it will seek to raise $40 million in equity financing. Fox said he is still working with the group.

The Aspen Club, which when fully operational counted around 1,500 members, in 2010 first received approval to build timeshare condos on what used to be its tennis courts. The plan involves a remodel of the 40,000-square-foot club building and 54,000 square feet of new construction between the condos and 12 affordable housing units.

Construction started in 2016 but stalled in summer 2017.

Since the athletic facility closed down at the outset of construction, the club’s members have been offered access to other local athletic facilities. Since spring 2016, however, the list has grown smaller. Last month, the Snowmass Club announced it would be ending the partnership agreement with Aspen Club. Aspen Shakti yoga studio made a similar announcement on Thursday, saying Sunday will be the last day it will accept Aspen Club members.

“My hope is that by June 1 we will have a clearer and more solid understanding of where the Aspen Club is truly headed, and at that time we can reassess how to move forward in a way that is positive for everyone involved,” Shakti owner Jayne Gottlieb wrote in an email to Aspen Club members.

The Aspen Clinic - TAC FITness and the Gym of Aspen also will end their partnership agreements with Aspen Club on Sunday.  The Snowmass Rec Center, the Jewish Community Center (Hi2T classes) and Altitude Performance Studio will continue working with the Aspen Club on a month-to-month basis, according to an email to club members on Thursday.

Fox wrote in that email that the club “has been working hard on our refinancing of the project over the past 16 months.”

“It has been a difficult, complicated and frustrating process,” according to the email. “It has dragged on months longer than I ever expected and we are still not there. Given all of the uncertainty surrounding the timing of this, we have decided that the fairest thing to do is to put all of our members on a construction hold starting March 1, and stop charging any membership fees until we have resolved our refinancing process.”

Fox acknowledged that the club owes money to various facilities and has been “getting people caught up over time.”

He added that he didn’t want to keep charging the club’s remaining 800 dues paying members until the financing plan was finalized.

In the meantime, Fox said he will be “pushing hard to close” over the next couple of weeks. He said he did not anticipate seeking any changes to the development plan’s approval, which was amended in 2014.

Curtis Wackerle is the editor of Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at curtis@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @CurtisWackerle.

Editor