Aspen Snowmass, CO, has long been known as the playground of the ultra-wealthy and A-list celebrities. In the last few years, however, real estate prices in this enclave have gone through the roof. A median single-family house in Aspen will now set you back $13.2 million, which is up 35% from last year and more than double the median of $6.4 million in 2019.
Aspen has always been popular with the elite looking for the perfect location for a ski holiday home. Typically, it is not their first holiday home but rather their second or third on top of their St. Barts, Hamptons, and/or Florida holiday home portfolio. Holiday homes on Aspen’s Red Mountain belong to the likes of Walmart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke, Jeff Bezos’ parents, and Les Wexner, founder of Bath & Body Works (formerly known as Limited Brand). This led to Red Mountain being dubbed ‘Billionaire Mountain’.
Sadly, the mansions on Billionaire Mountain are vacant the majority of the year. However, Covid-19 has brought in a new class of buyers. Over the last two years, there has been an influx of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (‘UHNWI’) who can work remotely and who have ample money to spend and are looking to relocate permanently or for a large chunk of the year, rather than merely to purchase another holiday home. Many of the new residents work on Wall Street, who can trade or broker trades electronically and can fly in and out for meetings on their private jets as needed. Local school enrolments have increased 50% since 2015.
So it does not come as a surprise that Aspen is poised to break an all-time property record with a listing of $100 million for a unique ski-in, ski-out house mansion on 1.4 acres of wooded land on Ajax. The house is situated adjacent to the Little Nell chair and Silver Queen gondola, right above the Residences at Little Nell, making it undeniably one of the best located properties in the Aspen Snowmass resort. Not only are you right next to the Little Nell ski piste and chair, but you are also just a short stroll from downtown Aspen.
The house features 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms across a generous 14,154 sq. ft. (1,315 sq. m). It features two kitchens, a bar, small gym and a game room. It is one of only five single family homes on Ajax (or Aspen Mountain, as the locals prefer to call it) and arguably the best address in town.
With a $100 million asking price, it would be the most expensive home ever sold in Aspen. Nevertheless, just because it is the asking price does not mean it will actually trade at that price point. In 2006 Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to the US from Saudi Arabia listed his Aspen ranch for $135 million. It did not trade for a good six years and ultimately was snapped up by hedge fund legend John Paulson for a ‘mere’ $49 million in 2012.
The current record-holding piece of real estate is the 21,477 sq. ft. home purchased in 2021 by Patrick Dovigi for $72.5 million.
It will be interesting to see how long 730 S Galena will be on the market for and what price it will ultimately fetch. It last traded in 1996 for $9 million when it was purchased by Joel Tauber. The house was built in 1979 and renovated in 2015 but would most likely be completely renovated by the new owner. The house has some unusual features, like an outside elevator and a stained glass ceiling. It does not have a pool or other features often showcased in current builds, but the unparalleled location and the site’s potential will be the decision maker in this property investment.