Castle preparing to reopen in spring
REDSTONE – It will be a warm day in Redstone before its castle reopens to the public.Ralli Dimitrius, the new owner of the historic property, said delays in getting a boiler serviced mean the castle won’t be open to tours until spring. He also hopes to begin taking in overnight guests when the weather warms.He said difficulties in getting a subcontractor to look at the castle boiler are preventing him from opening up for business sooner.”If we don’t have heat and hot water there’s not much comfort there for tours,” he said.Still, news that the castle could reopen later this year should come as welcome news to Redstone business owners. Lisa Wagner, owner of Crystal Dreams Bed & Breakfast, hopes the castle plans come to pass for the sake of the hamlet’s economy.”It will be a boost because it’s one other thing that Redstone has to offer here,” she said.Dimitrius, a part-time Aspenite, made the winning $4 million bid for the castle in a federal auction last March. The Internal Revenue Service took possession of the castle in 2003 as part of an investigation into a $56 million investment scam by the former owners. Proceeds from the castle sale went toward a restitution fund for victims.
Coal baron John C. Osgood built the 42-room castle at the start of the 20th century.It was closed to tours last summer, and hasn’t been open to the public for several winters. Because the boiler has been out of service for a few years, Dimitrius needs to have it looked at and possibly updated before it can be used, he said.But even castle owners can have troubles lining up repairmen. Dimitrius said his boiler contractor “hasn’t been able to make it because of his busy schedule.””He’s coming in April, so we’re kind of sitting still until then,” he said.He said he has people working at the castle every day, but because of the cold they’ve been limited to doing things such as visual inspections. Still, he’s generally happy with the state of the castle.”The building is ready. It’s in top condition. Everything is clean and ready to go. You can’t do much without heat and water,” he said.He’s anxious to get the castle open.
“It’s not profitable sitting idle,” Dimitrius said.Dimitrius plans to operate a restaurant in the castle. He said a wedding already has been booked for the facility this summer.Eventually, Dimitrius hopes to build some cabins on the property. He’s not certain how many, and has yet to submit plans for review by Pitkin County, which is known for its restrictive policies regarding development. He said historical preservation requirements stipulate that the cabins can’t be built too close to the castle.Dimitrius also would like to build a swimming pool and open a spa on the property.”We’re doing one step at a time. We’re feeling it out. We’re not sure what the county will allow us to do,” he said.He also has been considering offering horseback rides, but isn’t sure if that will happen.”It all depends upon the insurance people. They seem to not want horseback riding.”
Dimitrius said he hasn’t yet determined things such as his staffing requirements or how much castle tours will cost.He said he’s also open to suggestions about what to do with the property.”We’re not sure where we’re headed but we’re looking at something that’s going to create some interest,” he said.”I’m sure the community would like to see full operation year-round. So would we.”Said Wagner, “That’s expensive to run in the winter, as he will find out.”But even as a lodge operator she would like to see the castle take overnight guests and make Redstone a bigger draw for tourists. She said she would be glad if it opened at all, if only for tours.Dimitrius said he stays at the caretaker house on the castle property frequently, and plans to be there for the sled dog races at the end of the month.
“We’ve met almost everybody in Redstone. We’re happy to meet with them and they seem very happy to meet us. It’s a nice community. We love to be around them,” he said.He remains excited about the castle’s future, despite the challenges associated with it.”Who wouldn’t be? It’s a fantastic piece of property that needs attention.”Said Wagner, “Everybody has had big dreams up there and we hope that his dreams come true.””At least somebody owns it now who wants to take care of it and open it as a business again. That’s great.”Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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