2020 will go down in history as a remarkably interesting year for Aspen real estate. As I discussed in my previous column
, the demand for Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley property has dramatically increased as people uprooted their families from the big cities and relocated to our slice of paradise.
But the story does not end with COVID’s impact on Aspen. There are other significant forces impacting the local real estate market and the future quality of life in the Roaring Fork Valley.
- Serious consideration is being given to reducing the maximum size of homes by one-third while at the same time 275 new employee housing units are slated for the former Lumber Yard site at the Airport Business Center.
- Snowmass Base Village continues to expand as new buildings are finished and others are in the final approval phase.
Basalt is growing as the Basalt River Park Community begins to take shape for the former 2.3-acre Pan and Fork mobile home site. Twenty-four residences plus 24,000 square feet of commercial space are planned. Stotts Mill - Stotts Mill site consists of 4.4 acres between the Southside subdivision and the Rio Grande Trail. Basalt has approved 113 dwelling units and a 4,000 square-foot daycare center.
- Willits continues to reshape the El Jebel area as hundreds of new homes, retail, and hotels are on the books including:
- The Tree Farm - 340 residences and 135,000 square feet of commercial space including 22 acres of open space.
- Steadman - 65,000 square foot Steadman Medical Office Building in Willits Town Center planned for advanced musculoskeletal care also will include underground parking. The Steadman Clinic, Orthopedic Care Partners, Aspen Valley Hospital, and Vail Health have collaborated on the project. All three stories of the complex will also have an ambulatory surgery and rehabilitation center plus facilities for the Steadman Philippon Research Institute.
- TACAW - The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW) project plans for seating of 240 for concerts and lectures, 180 for cabaret, 160 for banquets, and possibly 400 standing guests.
Pitkin County has the most restrictive growth policies while Eagle County has the least restrictive. I often describe the property in Pitkin County as a “finite commodity chased by the world’s wealthiest people”. What does all this development mean for real estate values throughout the Upper Roaring Fork Valley? A few observations:
- Extreme Aspen prices are causing many older, long-time locals to cash in and relocate to other areas in the Valley.
- “Old Town” Basalt is quickly becoming a haven for former Aspen residents due to its small-town atmosphere.
- Willits is transforming El Jebel and quickly growing into the “epicenter” of the Roaring Fork Valley.
- Carbondale, an award-winning community, is experiencing an influx of families desiring small-town amenities yet close to world-class skiing at Aspen.
Finally, you might read stories about the dramatic increase in the average price of an Aspen/Snowmass sale in 2020. While the average price has increased significantly, many of the sales were for more than $10,000,000 and, in my opinion, artificially skewed the price upward. In other words, the average price for most Aspen/Snowmass homes is less than being reported in the media.
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