…Yielding a $37.25M gross payday to Seller since the original $17.75M acquisition in Nov 2010. (Not factoring in any costs associated with the re-development of the property other than the initial purchase.)

A Dallas real estate group has paid $28M for 535 E. Hyman Ave, a 2015 built, but as yet unoccupied, commercial building with approximately 20,000 heated sq ft in the heart of downtown Aspen. The property, called the “Lego Building” and located on what was an empty parking lot in the middle of downtown Aspen for 60-plus years, was developed by Aspen Core Ventures, comprised of law firm partner Andrew Hecht of Garfield & Hecht and his son Nikos. The property is adjacent to the former Little Annies Restaurant Building.

Top R photo, left to right -Nov 2010 Purchase: 
Former Parking lot; former Benton Bldg/Huntsman Gallery; Little Annies Restaurant
(Photo credits: Fleisher Real Estate and Aspen Snowmass Sothebys International Realty)

The building contains a separately sold Penthouse that closed on 11/12/15 at $25M/$2,939 sq ft for unfinished and unfurnished space to buyer NZC CO, a Delaware limited liability company. The 8,507 heated sq ft apartment has 6 bdrms/6 bath /2 half baths, approximately 4,000 sq ft of outdoor deck space with swimming pool and a 1,200 sq ft 3-car garage.

Aspen Core Ventures bought the Little Annie’s Restaurant building, the former Huntsman Gallery/Benton building and the parking lot at the intersection of East Hyman Avenue and Hunter Street for $17.75 million on 11/09/10. (517, 521, 535 E. Hyman Ave respectively.)  The gallery building, built in the 1960s by the late artist Tom Benton, was preserved as part of a negotiated settlement between the City and developer.

The City of Aspen waived most of the affordable housing mitigation costs associated with the construction of 20,000 sq ft of mixed use space (a considerable expense) and additionally allowed for the construction of the 8,000 sq ft plus penthouse, when downtown zoning only allows for a 2,000 sq ft maximum residential unit in mixed-use buildings, in return for Aspen Core Ventures preserving the Benton Building and Little Annies Restaurant space with a deed restriction on the Little Annie’s space, ensuring that it remain a restaurant in perpetuity and that it remain affordable to the tenant and customers.

Last year, Austin, TX restaurateur Larry McGuire and his investors paid $2 million for the Little Annie’s building* next door to the Lego building. McGuire, co-founder of Clark’s Oyster Bar, will open a restaurant with the same name in the Little Annie’s spot later this year, possibly as early as June 1. The building  is being remodeled currently.

Stephen Summers, the operator-manager of the CT018 Aspen LLC partnership which bought the property, and brother-in-law Ray Washburne are owners of 250,000-square-foot Highland Park Village, an upper end shopping plaza located in an affluent area of Dallas.

Synopsis of the numbers: Paid $17.75M 11/2010; sold Little Annies for $2M (2016); sold PH for $25M (11/2015); sold commercial retail and office space $28 (02/2018) = Property cost -$17.75 + Property sales: $2M+$25M+$28M = $37.25M gross payday (not factoring any costs associated with the re-development of the property). For more history on the property and Aspen Core’s acquisition in 2010, click here.