Real Estate 101

Aspen's East End

Messy vitality defines this eclectic neighborhood.

By Carolyn Sackariason June 4, 2018 Published in the Summer 2018 issue of Aspen Sojourner

The view overlooking Aspen's East end and the rest of town from Smuggler Road 

In the past, Aspenites used the term “messy vitality” to describe the intermingled lifestyles of the wealthy and the ski bums. Town’s northeast side is one of the last bastions of this fading concept, thanks to a hodgepodge of aging free-market properties, deed-restricted employee housing complexes, what may be the country’s most expensive mobile home park (properties have sold for more than $1 million), and new multimillion-dollar townhomes that appeal to second-home buyers.

“People will pay $6 million for a townhouse, and there are deed-restricted units and aging trailers nearby,” notes Ernemann.

For a microcosm of this eclectic mix, look to Park Avenue. On one end, it’s lined with sleek contemporary homes that go for $8 million and more. A couple hundred yards up the street are dilapidated 1970s-era complexes that house local workers but are ripe for remodel when sold.

Nearby are the large Centennial (deed-restricted) and Hunter Creek (both free-market and deed-restricted) condominium complexes, which have allowed many a working family to get a foothold in Aspen while living where barbecues, balconies packed with ski and bike gear, and kids at play are the norm. Just a few blocks away, in small developments like Fox Crossing, single-family homes sell in the $5 million–$8 million range.

One of Aspen’s most popular hiking routes, Smuggler Mountain Road (a.k.a. Housewife Hill), rises above the neighborhood. Because of previous mining operations on Smuggler, some of the surrounding area is a Superfund site. Even contaminated dirt costs a pretty penny around here.

There’s still opportunity for growth. A developer is looking to buy one of the last pieces of open land in the neighborhood, owned by the Smuggler Racquet Club, for $15.5 million to build townhomes and employee housing units.

Elizabeth Milias, who lives in the River Bluff Townhomes on the neighborhood’s western edge, says, “With the ability to walk anywhere, this location provides incredible convenience with the benefit of peace and quiet, plus great views.”


Number of active listings at press time: 19

Active average home price:
$3.5 million

Number of homes sold in 2017: 19

Average price of homes sold in 2017:
$1.7 million

Average number of days on the market: 158

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