There are signs of life in the Lift One Corridor Project at the western base of Aspen Mountain.
The owners of the Lift One Lodge submitted an application for a building permit that was recently deemed complete by the city of Aspen and is under review. The review will likely be completed within 12 to 18 months and wrapped up sometime in 2024, according to Ben Anderson, deputy director of the city’s Community Development Department.
Lift One Lodge Aspen hopes to break ground in the first quarter of 2025.
Lift One Lodge Aspen LLC is seeking a permit to build 231,015 square feet. although a substantial amount of that is underground with 126 parking spaces, trash collection, restaurant service areas and ski lockers for the public and Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol. About 112,000 square feet of the project would be above ground in three buildings, Anderson said. The approvals for the project feature 34 fractional units and six condominium units with associated restaurants and amenities..
The valuation of the Lift One Lodge project was estimated at $199,499,717 on the building permit.
Lift One Lodge is a critical component of the broader Lift One Corridor Project, which has been long planned but idling. In addition to the Lift One Lodge, the broader project includes the Gorsuch Haus hotel farther up the slope, a ski museum operated by Aspen Historical Society and a replacement for Lift 1A. The new lift, potentially a gondola hybrid with a high-speed lift, will be extended downslope by 500 feet to make it accessible from Dean Street. That was viewed as a critical piece of the proposal.
The project was approved by voters in a March 2019 election by just a 26-vote margin. After an intense campaign, the project was approved 1,555 to 1,529. Since the election, Gorsuch Haus was sold by partners Jeff Gorsuch and Lowe Enterprises to a group led by Vladislav Doronin, which owns the property through Aspen City Holdings LLC.
The corridor project also includes other stakeholders such as Aspen Skiing Co. and the city of Aspen. The stakeholders’ group has held regular meetings and prepared a preliminary construction sequencing plan for the project. The plan is subject to alterations before it is final, city officials stressed, and it is dependent on the issuance of building permits.
“The Lift One Lodge Aspen Project, the Aspen City Holdings Project and the removal of the existing lift and installation of the new lift by Aspen Skiing Co. are intertwined, necessitating that the sequential steps of construction and phasing be considered at the onset,” the proposed plan states. “The parties are proposing a schedule that seeks to minimize skiing and overall Aspen Mountain operations disruption and move the Lift One Corridor Project forward in a coordinated way.”
Lift One Lodge received final development plan approvals from the city government on Nov. 11, 2020. It has vested rights through Dec. 24, 2025, so it is seeking its building permit well before the deadline.
“After the City has issued a building permit for the [Lift One Lodge Aspen] Project, LOLA will begin construction on the sub-grade portions of the LOLA Project and existing Skiers’ Chalet Lodge relocation,” the proposed construction sequencing plan said. “Throughout construction of the LOLA Project, the existing lift will not be affected by construction and may continue operation. Total duration of sub-grade construction for the LOLA Project is anticipated to be between 18 and 24 months.”
Above-ground work will begin as “expeditiously as reasonably possible” after the underground work, the proposed plan said. The total duration of construction is anticipated at 40 to 44 months.
While Doronin has been silent about his company’s intent, the proposed construction sequencing document lays out the plan. Aspen City Holdings “currently plans to submit its building permit application” in the second quarter of 2024, the proposed plan said. It anticipates receiving the building permit between the second quarter of 2025 and the second quarter of 2026.
Once a permit is in hand, Aspen City Holdings will begin construction on utilities, earthwork and the foundation of its hotel, a process anticipated to take between seven and nine months.
“The existing lift, along with the Aspen Skiing Co. building at the base of the existing lift, will be decommissioned and removed in connection with Aspen City Holdings commencing construction on its utilities and earthwork.”
Once the subgrade work is completed on what’s now known as the Gorsuch Haus, Aspen City Holdings will start construction of its luxury hotel, approved at 64,000 square feet and 81 rooms. A total construction duration of 36 to 40 months is anticipated.
The sequencing proposal said Gorsuch Haus construction will take four to eight months less than the construction of Lift One Lodge.
If the contemplated timeline is met, it would suggest Lift 1A will be removed after the 2025-26 season and the new lift would be operational for the 2028-29 season.
Aspen Daily News \ May 5, 2023