Sopris finally sells
After several fits and starts, the Sopris Restaurant finally changed hands Tuesday – and it wasn’t sold to Bair Chase, developers of a neighboring golf course south of Glenwood Springs. Bair Chase had planned to purchase the restaurant, but a deal fell through in September after Bair Chase failed to receive financing. The restaurant’s sale to Sopris Properties LLC closed Tuesday, said Walt Brown, attorney for Sopris Restaurant and Buffalo Valley owner Kurt Wigger. “Those guys were out of this deal a long time ago,” Brown said, referring to Bair Chase. He said the owners of Sopris Properties signed a contract for the restaurant in September, but the deal took months to close. Aspen architect Charles Cunniffe, one of the partners in Sopris Properties, said the corporation is an investment group completely unaffiliated with Bair Chase that hopes to have another restaurant replace the old Sopris Restaurant. He would not say who the other investors are. “It’s really myself and another partners and minor partners,” he said, adding that they hope to be “low key” about their new purchase. “We want to make it available to somebody who wants to make a quality restaurant in the mid-valley,” Cunniffe said. “We think it’s a good spot for a dining experience.”Ideally, Wigger would have stayed in that location and kept the Sopris Restaurant open, he said. “It would have been our first choice,” Cunniffe said. “Can’t say at the moment he’d be interested because he’s emotionally made the move out. I’d love to see him do it. The writing’s on the wall that he’s moved on.”There’s no guarantee the old Sopris building could become another restaurant, however. Cunniffe said “there’s a number of options,” including turning the property into an entirely different kind of development or even becoming part of the Bair Chase development. The focus, though, will be on keeping the building a restaurant, he said. A representative of Bair Chase didn’t return calls seeking comment. But even if the Wigger never returns to his old restaurant, fans of the Sopris Restaurant may soon once again indulge in some of the restaurant’s old menu items at Wigger’s Buffalo Valley Restaurant south of Glenwood. Wigger said he’s taking some chairs, tables, booths and fixtures from the old restaurant to Buffalo Valley, where he plans to open a room reminiscent of the Sopris Restaurant. He said he will serve some of the Sopris’ most popular menu items there. Wigger had planned to reopen the Sopris Restaurant after the deal with Bair Chase collapsed. “That deal didn’t close, so he has really no choice but to reopen,” Brown said in October. It “was going to be purchased on Sept. 12. The next day we were advised they could not get their financing done, so they were unable to close (the sale).”Despite his plans, Wigger was never able to reopen the restaurant.
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Highway 82 over Independence Pass reopened Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. after an overnight closure for safety reasons, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.