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Shluchim to Establish Home Inside New Chabad House

Aspen Daily News

Changes have once again been made to the plan for the Aspen, Colorado Chabad Jewish Community Center, which now includes a 3,500-square-foot home on the Main Street property.

The plan once called for a 4,500-square-foot social hall next to a 10,550-square-foot building that will house a synagogue and preschool classrooms. But that has been changed, and a new land-use application was filed in City Hall earlier this month, according to Alan Richman, a planning consultant working with the JCC.

The new application seeks approval for the single-family home to house Rabbi Mendel Mintz and his family as part of the second phase of the construction project.

The new plan needs approval from the city Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. The JCC already has received conceptual approval from the city Historic Preservation Commission, which is required because Main Street is located in a historic district.

Richman said there are no dates set for the land-use hearings but he expects the approval process to occur over the winter.

Richman said the previously planned social hall is not necessary because after setting the floor plan for the community center, it was determined that space could be dedicated for that type of use in the sanctuary.

“The house is very much needed,” he said. “I think this will actually work better.”

Richman said the home would be designed so that Mintz, or whomever is the rabbi in the future, can host events on the ground floor. Richman also added that it would be beneficial for the rabbi to live on site to deal with any problems that arise.

Construction is underway for the community center, which will be located between Third and Fourth streets on the south side of Main Street. The block was home to L’Auberge d’Aspen tourist cabins. Six of the L’Auberge cabins will remain on the site to be used as housing and guest accommodations. The remaining three were deemed historic and moved off site, Richman said.

Mintz said he expects construction to take 16 months.

The JCC was first approved in 2006 as a 34,000-square-foot community center. At the time, Chabad said it needed to raise $22 million for the project including land and construction costs, $9.9 million of which was in the bank.

However, a series of events stalled the project, and most of that had to do with economic crisis that ensued in 2008. Even the current downsizing is related to economics, Richman said.

In 2009, Chabad sought to move to the Silver Lining Ranch off of Ute Avenue. The former home of a nonprofit that was a retreat for children with life-threatening diseases was for sale, and looked good to Mintz as a home for the new JCC that required minimal construction. Chabad had a contract to buy the property for $13.5 million, but the deal fell through when neighbors protested that homeowners association covenants wouldn’t allow the institutional use — the JCC would include a preschool and day care — in the Stillwater Ranch subdivision.

Mintz couldn’t provide details on how far along Chabad is in its capital campaign, or how much it needs, but said “things are going well.”

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