Short-term rental home in Aspen sells for $69 million, just ahead of key deadline

Rick Carroll
Aspen Times
This 18,000-square-foot mansion on 6 acres of land known as Silver Lining Ranch sold Wednesday for $69 million. The property will be used as a short-term rental and is now owned by the same group that bought the next-door Aspen Club next out of foreclosure for $52.59 million in January 2021.
Aspen Times File Photo

This week’s $69-million purchase of the Silver Lining Ranch next to the Aspen Club included a 10-bedroom mansion, more than 6 acres and something else of value to the new ownership — a short-term rental license.

The 18,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom mansion was acquired by Meriwether Companies and Revere Capital, which also partnered with Fireside Investments to buy the Aspen Club property out of foreclosure for $52.59 million in January 2021.

The new owners said the rental property will “complement the revitalization of the Aspen Club. The 144,248-square-foot project is currently in development and will feature hospitality, culinary, fitness, health and wellness offerings.”

By closing on the home deal on Wednesday, the new ownership got in front of the city’s new STR regulations that take effect on Saturday. Ordinance 9, passed by Aspen City Council in June, prohibits the transfer of STR licenses with the ownership change of a property.

Under the new rules, the STR license is revoked at the time the sale closes, and the new owner must apply for a separate STR license.

A press release for the sale, one of the highest prices paid for a single-family home in city limits, even noted the property has a STR license.

“Boulder-based Meriwether Companies plans to continue operating the home on a nightly rental basis to complement the revitalization of the Aspen Club,” the release said.

The city defines STR properties as those rented out for a period within 30 days.

The city hasn’t been accepting STR license applications since the Aspen City Council passed a moratorium on new STR permits on Dec. 7 last year. The moratorium expires at the end of Friday, and, on Saturday, the city will start accepting STR license applications exclusively from non-license holders. The new licenses will be valid through the end of 2023.

Existing STR licenses do not expire until Dec. 31, and the city will start accepting applications for their renewal through 2023 sometime in November, said Emmy Garrigus, who is overseeing the city’s re-invented STR structure. Dec. 31 also is the deadline to renew existing STR licenses for 2023.

“We have a whole crop of permits that were issued prior to the moratorium, and we have a second crop of people who are eager to get STR permits,” she said.

As it stands, the city has 1,319 STR permits on file that were issued under the old regulations. The new regulations place a cap on STR licenses in 14 neighborhood zone districts, which means some license applications processed in the coming weeks will be put on a waiting list, Garrigus said.

There are no limits to STR classic permits in commercial and lodge zones. The STR classic is available to non-owner-occupied and owner-occupied residences that are being rented out more than 120 nights a year.

The STR classics are one of three types of licenses the city is distributing under the restructured program.

The other two permit types are defined by the city as follows:

• Owner-occupied short-term rental permit— “The Owner-occupied STR (STR-OO) permit is available only to City of Aspen residents who own and can prove that the property is their primary residence. STR-OO permits are issued to full-time Aspen residents and are limited to 120 rental nights per calendar year from the date of permit issuance. If an applicant wishes to short-term their property for more than 120 nights per year, they may apply for an STR-C permit.”

• Lodging exempt short-term rental permit — “The Lodging Exempt STR (STR-LE) permit is available solely to lodging and condo-hotel properties which meet the definition of Lodge or Condo-hotel per (city code), Use Categories. Some characteristics of Lodges and Condo-hotels include, but are not limited to, common reservation and cleaning services, combined utilities, and on-site, in-person management and reception services during normal business hours. Properties eligible for STR-LE permits are required to be marketed under a unified brand and marketing model where the individual ownership of units is secondary to the central brand of the property. There is no limit to the number of rental nights allowed under the STR-LE permit.”

Cost for the lodging-exempt permits is $148; owner-occupied and classic permits are $394. STR permit holders also are required to have an annual business license, which is priced at $150 a year.

The city also will realize additional tax revenue from STRs if voters in November pass the creation of an excise tax would come in two versions — a 5% tax on nightly stays at owner-occupied units and lodge- and condo-hotels, and a 10% tax on properties that are not primary residences for the owners or are for used investment purposes.

The city has said the revenue would go toward Aspen’s affordable-housing efforts, and the remaining funds would be used for environmental initiatives as well as maintaining and repairing infrastructure.

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