THE ASPEN BUSINESS JOURNAL
If you look at a map of downtown Aspen, the commercial core is defined as 17 blocks bounded by Main Street and Durant Avenue on the north and south, and Monarch and Spring streets on the west and east. (The core juts out one block on the southeastern end, with the block including City Market.) But while most of the core is in the “CC” zone district, which encourages high density and emphasizes retail and other high-traffic uses, Spring Street properties are in the C-1 zone district, which is meant to provide a transition between the commercial core and surrounding residential areas. Up until now, Spring Street has been somewhat of a no man’s land, with an odd mix of mostly retail on the southern end, several older office buildings, and a spatter of residential.
But with eight redevelopment projects on four city blocks, Spring Street is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. It’s an accidental makeover—none of the projects were planned together—to be anchored by a brand new Aspen Art Museum on the corner of Spring and Hyman. Bookended by a new mixed-use building on the old Stage 3 theater site and a totally revamped City Market, the Spring Street-area projects also include a new, completely green mixed-use building; a renovated Crandall Building; the rehabbing of a historic home; the rethinking of three old retail spaces; and an addition to an aging office building.
“At first blush people could look at it as a saturation of new projects on that side of town,” said Adam Roy, a land planner with DJA Planning and Development who is working on two of the projects. “One project alone would have a really hard time succeeding at anything more than office use. But with eight projects, those all together will sort of create a draw to that end of town.” Roy suggests the Spring Street developers consider getting together and conceiving a district, as their combined efforts are creating a unique part of town.