Aspen Research sells downtown landmark, will remain as tenant
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Aspen Research Group has sold a 116-year-old building in the heart of downtown, but will remain there as a tenant.Four investors, including an Aspen Research Group employee, paid $3.72 million for the building at 802 Grand Ave., which also houses US Bank, law offices and other tenants.Dennis Krueger of Silverthorne, one of the buyers, said Aspen Research has no plans to leave.”They’re going nowhere. They’re a very key tenant for us,” he said. “They’ve signed a long-term lease with us.”Officials for Aspen Research, which develops financial markets software for buyers worldwide, could not be reached for comment. Tom Lacy of Glenwood Springs, the company’s chief financial officer, teamed up with Krueger and two others to buy the building.Those other two – Walter I. Jenkins and Raydean M. Acevedo, both of Morrison – bought an 89 percent share in the property, Krueger said. He and Lacy split the rest, and Lacy will manage the property.The purchase came as news to some tenants. Dan Kerst, of the law firm Schenk, Kerst & DeWinter, just heard of it Wednesday. He said while the sale would affect whom he negotiates with, his firm has a lease that’s good for three more years.Attorney Tom Hartert said he just signed a new lease and moved into a bigger set of offices.”It’s business as usual for me as a tenant,” he said. “I have no idea what it means for Aspen Research.”He said he suspected the buyers would want to know US Bank and Aspen Research want to remain as tenants.The sale comes during a time in which Aspen Research, like other high-tech companies, has felt the impact of the global economic slowdown.Said Kerst, “The news of the sale doesn’t surprise me exactly because I know they had been downsizing and so forth. … Their parking lot had been emptying out to some extent.”But Krueger doesn’t believe economic factors drove the sale.”I think their company is doing very well,” he said. “I never was led to be believe anything of the kind of their needing to liquidate it for cash. They are a very strong company and that was not their motivation that was represented to me whatsoever.”Rather, he said, it was just a decision for Aspen Research to get out of the real estate business.Aspen Research bought the building and a parking lot from US Bank for $2.5 million in 1998.A 106-year-old buildingThe building was constructed as a three-story stone and brick structure in 1887 to house the First National Bank, said Willa Soncarty, registrar at the Frontier Historical Museum in Glenwood Springs.Some of the Roaring Fork Valley’s leading early businessmen were involved in the project. They included Glenwood Springs town founder Walter Devereux; J.J. Hagerman, president of the Colorado Midland railroad; Jerome B. Wheeler, who also built the Wheeler Opera House; R.J. Bowles, who also developed the Everglades in Florida; and David R.C. Brown, part of a prominent pioneer family in the valley.When the project was announced, it was expected to cost $25,000.First National Bank operated in that location until the 1980s. Also, during the middle part of the 1900s, the third story housed Porter Hospital.The bank underwent a major renovation in the 1980s, including an addition on the south side, Soncarty said.Starting in 1987, a succession of banks owned the building, including Central Bank, Colorado National Bank, and then US Bank.A loose commercial real estate marketUS Bank and Aspen Research both are first-floor tenants in the building. Krueger said Lacy is working to sign up tenants for some of the last remaining spaces in the building.Kerst said the commercial rental market in Glenwood should be interesting to watch. A lot of commercial landlords are holding out for $18 to $20 per square feet, and several spaces aren’t being rented, he said.Krueger, who also owns commercial properties in Summit County and the Denver area, said rates can be difficult to compare, depending on whether things such as maintenance are incorporated into the cost.”They vary depending on who’s including what in the fee,” he said. “They’re all over the board throughout Glenwood.”He said he and his partners have no plans for renovations on the building.”We’re just going to kind of go with the flow and look forward to getting to 100 percent” occupancy, he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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