Long the engine of Aspen’s cultural and intellectual vibrancy, with the internationally renowned Aspen Institute, Benedict Music Tent, Harris Hall, and the Aspen Center for Physics on its north side, this historic area has recently seen a revival. After years of being dominated by part-time residents, the West End is becoming more of a “lights on” neighborhood as families move in from out of state, motivated by lower taxes, a public school system that rivals private schools elsewhere, and an attractive quality of life. Local brokers say plenty of new buyers here are also semi-retired full-timers.
“It’s a lifestyle decision,” says Steven Shane, managing director of Compass real estate. “With everything that is going on in the world, the ability to work anywhere is apparent. Honestly, why wouldn’t they do it here?”
As with other neighborhoods in town, walkability to the downtown core is a strong draw, as is easy access to summer concerts at the music tent and Aspen Institute events.
Observes Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, who has lived in the West End for 16 years, “It’s getting more populated, and the neighborhood is becoming vital.”
Its character is still defined by the quaint Victorian homes and miners’ cabins lining the streets, which are protected under strict preservation laws. A key structure is the 130-year-old Wheeler Stallard House, home to the Aspen Historical Society. But the trend of building modern additions on to historic homes continues, and these and contemporary spec homes are selling like hot cakes.
“The West End has always been strong, but now it’s really taking off. You are seeing $15 million and $20 million sales, and that’s pretty unbelievable from 5 or 10 years ago,” says Brian Hazen, a broker with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse.
At those prices, $11 million for a 4,300-square-foot, four-bedroom home that’s currently on the market seems like a relative bargain.
Number of active listings at press time: 53
Active average home price:
Number of homes sold in 2017: 38
Average price of homes sold in 2017:
Average number of days on the market: 262