By Ali Margo | August 7, 2015 | Home & Real Estate
With the growing popularity of real estate in downtown Aspen and its limited inventory, demand has exceeded the supply, driving prices to record highs. Developers have become more creative than ever, and, in many cases, the only way to build is up. Penthouses are fast becoming Aspen’s most coveted—and expensive—real estate commodity. We chat with Lorrie Winnerman from Lorrie B. Aspen and Associates about top-floor real estate and other trends.
Let’s talk real estate trends in downtown Aspen. For starters, proximity to downtown has become extremely popular in the local real estate market.
Lorrie Berland Winnerman: The downtown core of Aspen is the highest priced real estate we have now. The last sale to hit the market was for $8.15 million, for a 2,900 square foot property. A 6,000 square foot property next door to that recently sold for 16 million. You have to pay big prices to be in the heart of downtown, to be able to fall out of bed and be just steps from the gondola.
Because there is such limited inventory it seems like renovated properties are gaining much attention.
LBW: Renovations are huge right now, especially in the West End. The only new development going on downtown is where old buildings have been torn down. There’s not a lot of inventory or room to build, which drives prices up even higher.
Because of the density in downtown Aspen, penthouses are also a huge trend right now.
LBW: In 2012, the Aspen City Council passed a downzoning ordinance that would no longer allow third stories on downtown buildings. So there was a mad rush to get third stories approved before the new law went into effect, and a lot of those projects are just coming to fruition now. It also means existing penthouses are going to become even more valuable than ever before. Once you limit a developer, you start a building boom unintentionally. Now penthouses are the biggest commodities in downtown Aspen.
You yourself recently renovated a downtown penthouse property. Did you recognize those trends when you purchased the property?
LBW: We purchased an older parcel because we knew it had huge potential. It was originally designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple and had good bones. It’s a great location just a few blocks from downtown on a wonderfully quiet street with drop-dead views of Aspen Mountain. This was our sixteenth development and we put together a great team to reimagine the space and turn it into a dream property. We opened up all the walls and created a spectacular gathering space, gourmet kitchen, and master wing. It has all the luxury touches: reclaimed walnut floors throughout, radiant heat floors in the bathrooms, and a double attached garage with three extra spaces, which is a rarity in downtown Aspen.
Why are people willing to pay so much to live in downtown Aspen?
LBW: People love to be able to walk or bike everywhere, to the gondola or the music tent. Buyers are paying the most per square foot for the views and for everything Aspen has to offer—you really do get what you pay for.