After nearly two years in the making, a plan to develop 80,000 square feet of new office and government space in downtown Aspen is apparently dying on the vine. Aspen city planner Ben Gagnon on Tuesday told the Planning and Zoning Commission that the ZG Master Plan is on hold indefinitely. The multimillion-dollar project’s viability is now being questioned, given the failing economy.
By Carolyn Sackariason, Dec 4, 2008, Aspen Times

ASPEN — Whether the master plan effort will be completely scrapped has not yet been decided. Gagnon said he plans to meet with project’s partners later this week to discuss whether to proceed.

The ZG Master Plan is being proposed by the city of Aspen, Pitkin County, the library and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA).

“It’s fair to say that the partnership is unsure how and what to proceed on,” Gagnon told the commission. “There is a great deal of uncertainty in proceeding.”

The Aspen Art Museum pulled out of the process last month, hoping to gain approval for a new museum without the bureaucracy attached to the master plan. The museum is eyeing the site of the former Aspen Youth Center to build a 30,000-square-foot facility, provided that the city and voters sign off on using publicly owned land.

The art museum has not yet submitted a land-use application, and before it does, it must have the permission of the city to use the land, or buy the property, which would at some point require voter approval.

“There is a lot of work prior to submitting an application,” said Aspen Community Development director Chris Bendon. “But you don’t necessarily have to have concluded all the land negotiations before submitting an application.”

The museum has been located for decades at another city-owned property, a former hydroelectric power plant on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, next to the North Mill Street bridge. The proposed new site is located between the Pitkin County Library and the Pitkin County jail, at the north end of Galena Street.

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