Dancing Bear Aspen Comes Back to Life
by Susan Redstone
Room with a view: The rooftop lounge at Dancing Bear
Many have been wondering whether Dancing Bear Aspen’s Mountainside—a frame of a building that sits next to the South Point condominiums on Durant Avenue—will finally be finished. The answer is yes (that’s the plan) and no (not yet). The troubled fractional property recently sold to developer Sunrise Company, in association with Oaktree Capital, with Starwood resident Randall Bone at the helm. Bone has enlisted another local, Timbers Resorts CEO and owner David Burden, whose company specializes in high-end private residence clubs like the popular Timbers Club in Snowmass, to turn things around.
The upshot is that the Dancing Bear’s new marketing and branding campaign is in local hands. Ironically, Burden bid for the property, but lost out to Sunrise. “It was disappointing, as we were such a natural for it because we develop high-end resorts and are best known for residence clubs,” Burden says. “Now Dancing Bear Aspen is a jewel in the Timbers crown, thanks to Randall, who envisioned it should be a Timbers club.”
If you think it odd that a developer would essentially hire another developer, you’re right. “The folks at Timbers were just the best people,” Bone says. “They know fractional so well. We fit together like a glove.”
In the back of Brexi restaurant, the upscale French brasserie run by Craig and Samantha Cordts-Pearce that anchors the property, the Dancing Bear concierge sits quietly in a dimmed foyer. The interiors by Shayne Smith are a tidal wave of whimsy and color (and that won’t be changed). The property features a rich palette of leather, gold, contemporary glass, and silks complemented by Peter Lik landscape prints and Richard Serra sculptures. Amenities include a theater, a geometric game room, a backlit wine and entertaining room, and a rooftop with canopied chairs.
Fractional properties could surge in 2012 as vacationers seek better service, shorter trips, and multiple locations. “You get much more than a hotel concierge with fractional; it’s a big part of what attracts,” Bone says. “We’re a small club. Staff knows guests personally, and guests make lifelong friends. I think fractional is great for this town. Owners use off-season weeks more than hotel guests. They’re high-end [spenders] that like to support the community. Our owners are invested emotionally and are active with local charities and hosting events. They read the Aspen paper when they’re home in another city.”
When will the Mountainside building be finished? “We’ll need to sell through our remaining shares in the Parkside building first,” Burden says. “But Mountainside is all entitled for another 11 units,” Bone adds, “and as a local I’m excited to see them completed.”
photography by karl wolfgang