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Waiting game

The new owners of the Sopris restaurant are looking for a perfect match.Sopris Properties LLC, which purchased the property on Jan. 10, is hoping to rent the vacant building to a restaurateur with similar vision.”Some of the best restaurants that have been successful in this valley have been innovative,” said Sopris Properties partner Charles Cunniffe, an Aspen architect. “It would take someone who could get their arms wrapped around what it can offer. Variety is always a good thing.”Sitting on nearly one acre, the restaurant remains vacant and is available for rent.”I don’t really have any prospects,” Cunniffe said. “We want to do a quality establishment. I need someone much more talented than I am to run this restaurant. It takes a unique skill set.” Cunniffe has met with a few interested potential renters, but no one who matches the outlook he and his partners have for the restaurant’s future.”We’re open to ideas,” he said. “I think it’s sort of an icon. It’s always been one of the most popular restaurants in Glenwood. We think it’s special.”In January, Sopris Properties purchased the Sopris restaurant from chef Kurt Wigger, who owns the Buffalo Valley Restaurant just down the road. Originally, developers of the Bair Chase neighborhood and golf course planned to buy the property – with talks of tearing it down and using it as an entrance to Bair Chase. The Bair Chase developers failed to secure financing to purchase the restaurant, so Sopris Properties stepped up to the plate. “We basically bought it as a long-term investment,” Cunniffe said. “It’s a key property in the valley, very well located.”Cunniffe said the restaurant’s kitchen is fully equipped. To spruce up the interior, he recently installed a picture window to provide a better view of Sopris from inside the restaurant. He noted additional amenities that make the property desirable.”There’s major parking there, and it’s high visibility. There’s a lot of traffic that goes by there. Also, there’s a lot of land with it. No one’s ever taken advantage of that,” he said. “It has to take someone who is really inspired by its unique location.”Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518aclark@postindependent.com

1974 Kurt Wigger buys Joe’s Other Place, operating it as the Red Onion for four years 1978 The Red Onion in Aspen sells and the new owners asked Wigger to change his restaurant’s name; he chooses Sopris restaurant June 2004 Sopris restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary April 2005 Sopris restaurant goes under contract to be sold to the adjacent Bair Chase development Aug. 30, 2005 Wigger hosts the last sit-down dinner at Sopris restaurant September 2005 Bair Chase fails to receive financing to purchase Sopris restaurant May/June 2006 Wigger opens Sopris Room at Buffalo Valley Jan. 10, 2006 Sopris Properties LLC purchases Sopris restaurant from Kurt Wigger September 8, 2006 Sopris restaurant remains available for rent


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