From parking lot to luxury penthouse, the Muse Building exemplifies the economic vitality that downtown Aspen real estate has to offer. The luxury penthouse of the Muse Building features a rooftop deck and pool, topping off the Class A commercial space offered on the first two levels. Surprisingly, in a Cinderella story twist, this luxury penthouse was once a vacant parking lot. As early as the 1960s, almost 55 years before the neighboring Aspen Art Museum was erected, the corner of Hyman Avenue was popular amongst community members. First home to a Japanese restaurant known as Sumo’s and later the Wienerstube, the parking lot served as the backdrop to Aspen’s fine dining at the end of the century. However, the lot soon turned vacant in the early 2000’s as the restaurant’s popularity dwindled. From there, developer Nikos Hecht took over.
Development on the Wienerstube lot as well as the Muse lot quickly gained the attention of city council members. City officials initially refuted Hecht’s proposals regarding the redevelopment of the Wienerstube lot, resulting in legal action in 2010. However, the Aspen community pushed for a settlement and a compromise of 40,000 buildable square feet, as opposed to the proposed 47,000 feet, was agreed to better suit the neighborhood. The Muse Building was ultimately approved at 38.5 feet tall, adding 15,000 square feet of valuable commercial and residential floor space to the downtown Aspen real estate landscape.
The 5,053 square feet, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom penthouse, which includes a rooftop deck and pool, set records for downtown Aspen real estate with an ultimate sale price of $3,126 per square foot. An important factor for this top dollar sale was that the Seller secured an easement from the building to the south of the Muse Building preventing any structure from blocking the view plane of Aspen Mountain.
Currently, the second floor of the Muse Building is leased by the law firm of Garfield and Hecht and the ground floor retail space remains vacant, likely because the owner is holding out for a national brand willing to pay top dollar.