Aspen developer Mark Hunt buys former Main Street Bakery building, plans to open a diner
After sitting empty for nearly two-and-a-half years, the historic building at 201 E. Main St. — known to most as the former Main Street Bakery — sold Wednesday to Aspen developer Mark Hunt for $5.5 million, according to records from the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
“I want to make it a super cool diner,” Hunt said of the 9,000-square-foot space. “I’m seriously excited about it.”
It will be a place that is open in the morning, throughout the day and late night.
“A place where the kids can go after their games,” Hunt said, adding it will serve as a meeting spot for tourists and locals. “I’m hoping to create a next-generation gathering place.”
“A place where you can go eat breakfast late night if you want.”
Longtime locals Bill and Jane Dinsmoor ran their popular Main Street Bakery and Cafe out of the pale pink-and-brick building from the late ’80s until October 2016.
Post-Main Street Bakery, the plan was for Aspen restaurateur David Roth and the late investor Leslie Rudd to restore the 130-year-old building and open an Oakville Grocery. Rudd’s death in May, however, stalled plans for the project. Calls to executives at Rudd’s investment company last year regarding the property were not returned.
Hunt said other people were looking at buying the property and he didn’t like the path they were heading down in terms of what their plans were with the building, so he bought it.
He said the town has lost too many gathering places, including Over Easy, which was in a building that he owned on Hopkins Avenue and sold to Hillstone Restaurant Group in May 2017 for $6 million. Over Easy left the space Oct. 31, 2017, at the request of the Hillstone chain, which also owns and operates the White House Tavern next door. The building that housed Over Easy has remained empty since.
Hunt said he has “two unbelievable operators” he is considering to run the Main Street diner.
When reached Wednesday, Roth would not say if he will be involved in the restaurant’s next phase.
“I know that Mark shares the same vision that Leslie and myself had in the structure of the building and in what to brings to the community and what it can bring to the community,” Roth said.
A major part of his and Rudd’s vision was to properly preserve the historic building, which architects later learned lacked a foundation and deemed “structurally unstable.”
An architect in the valley of more than 30 years, David Rybak told The Aspen Times in November 2017, “I’ve done a number of historic remodels and this is probably the biggest repair I’ve experienced.”
Hunt said the boarded-up building is an eyesore and isn’t doing anything for the retailers on that block so he wants to create vibrancy there.
“It’s all in the best interest to get this done as soon as possible,” Hunt said.
He said he is working with the city of Aspen to make that happen.
Amy Simon, the city’s historic preservation officer, said stabilization work for the initial project is mostly complete.
“We expect to hear from the property owner before anything proceeds again,” Simon said.
email@example.com Reporter Carolyn Sackariason contributed to this story.
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