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Zone 4 Architects- Bill Pollock Interview


“Solidity, style, place, and home.”

I sat down with Bill Pollock, the president of Zone 4 Architects, to learn more about his company and team. Choosing an architect can be a stressful task, but with the right company, everything will fall into place. Zone 4 Architects are located on the Hyman Mall and if you ever stop in and say hi you will be greeted by seven hardworking, happy and creative individuals. After a quick chat with Bill, I have gained a greater understanding of why this company is so incredible. If you are looking to build a home or a commercial property, Zone 4 Architects is a wise choice.

What style of architecture do you focus on?

“We focus mostly on Modern. In Aspen it is called ‘mountain modern.’ We also label a lot of our work ‘transitional.’ Meaning traditional forms with modern details. For example, we might take barn wood or a regular house shape and put some modern detail with metal roofs, white, and simple details. Ultimately, we focus on each clients’ individual needs, but currently people are wanting modern.”


What is the meaning behind the name of your company “Zone 4?”

“The original concept was the climate zone. We used to be in Climate Zone 4 but what we did not know is that, every once in a while, they change that. It is about context, we want to build for Zone 4. Arid, high mountain, and dry. We want to be in context whether the home is modern or not. A white box here would be cool, but it might not be contextual. It is also about the symbolism of four, four elements, four seasons, stability… and that relates to house and home.”


What makes you different?

“We have a wide range of styles and we are not going to force our style onto our client. This is their house not ours and we want them to be happy. And sometimes we have to swallow our ego to do that. We try to make the process fun. Being invited over to dinner after the project is done is the goal because that means the client is happy.”


Which home is your favorite?

“The next one.”


What goals do you have for your team in the future?

“To keep everyone happy. The team and our clients.”


What do Zone 4 Architects do best?

“We are very design oriented and we all get along very well.”


What inspires you?

“All architects learn from each other which is always inspiring. The environment also inspires me. If there is an incredible mountain view, then obviously that becomes the focus.”


Be sure to take a look at Zone 4’s website and stop by there beautiful office. The fun people and Aspen Mountain deck views are worth the trip.

Photography by David Marlow.
For more information click here.

The Belly Up Aspen


Aspen’s favorite music venue.

The Belly Up has a long history of bringing big name talent into town. This venue is unlike any other venue in the world. Where else can you attend an incredibly intimate concert that is just one block away from the gondola at a world renowned ski resort?

Michael Goldberg opened the Belly Up Aspen in 2005 and has been running it flawlessly with his two sons ever since. In fact, The Rolling Stone’s Magazine put it on the list of the “Best Clubs in America.” The Belly Up Aspen has an incredible reputation among both visitors and locals and there is a reason why. With over 300 performances a year, the Belly Up always has something going on.

What to expect? Expect nothing and everything. The Belly Up is never the same experience but it is always an unforgettable night. The general admission tickets are a great choice for those who like to dance and get close to the action. Typically, the general admission tickets are the cheapest as well as being the best spot in the house. The dance floor is located right in front of the stage and the energy is always high. For those who prefer to relax, chat, and drink, the reserved tables are another great option. The tables are slightly more expensive than the general admission tickets but it is an added bonus to be able to sit and simply enjoy the show.

Be sure to check the Belly Up Aspen event calendar frequently because you will not want to miss out! Past talents include The Avett Brothers, LCD Soundsystem, Lil Wayne, Jimmy Buffett, Kygo, Snoop Dogg and John Legend. Seeing such big names at such a small venue is truly a treat. With a capacity of 450 people, you will feel as if you are at a private concert. Check the event calendar and make it a night to remember.

For more information click here.

The Red Onion- Downtown Aspen Real Estate Series


The Red Onion is Aspen’s oldest bar and a true testament of time. Originally named the “The New Brick Saloon,” the building was built in 1892 during the silver boom. At the time, it was one of the only standing buildings in Aspen. Soon, the name “The Red Onion” started catching on among locals and eventually the name was officially changed. This building has seen it all and has been one of the most popular bars in Aspen for over a century.

The Red Onion has a rich history of celebrities, wild parties, delicious food and strong drinks. John Denver, Billie Holliday, Freddie Fisher, and Louis Armstrong are among some of the big name musicians who have played at the bar over the years. Take a visit and be sure to look at the old school images hung throughout, you will not be disappointed. This is one of the most iconic buildings in Aspen and the character of the saloon has been beautifully maintained. Grab a drink and take a trip back in time to 1892.

For more information click here.

Surf the Mountains: Get out on the Water with a New Perspective of the Mountains


Chances are you’ve probably heard about stand-up paddle boarding, (also affectionately referred to as SUP, which somehow fits right in with our slang-riddled mountain town vernacular). The beautiful thing about stand-up paddle boarding, and the reason it’s become one of the fastest growing water sports, is because it’s easy to learn, anyone can do it, and you don’t need actual surf to ride a surfboard. In the mountains, SUP opens up a whole new way to explore our rivers, mountain lakes, and reservoirs. Better yet, it’s a great way to get out on the water in the summertime. Let’s just put it this way: whoever says we are landlocked, never rode a SUP.
What It Is

Much bigger than the average surfboard, stand-up paddle boards have a lot of flotation and are easy to balance on. A paddle is used to propel yourself so that actual surf (or in our case, rapids) aren’t necessary. This opens the sport up to any body of water, whether it’s a high alpine lake, a large reservoir, a river, or even a small pond. It’s basically a hybrid of surfing and kayaking, but at a more relaxed pace with a much faster learning curve—now you can be a surfer without actually having to learn how to surf.
The Equipment

The beautiful thing is, all you need is a board and a paddle and you’re good to go.
Stand Up Paddle boards are typically inflatable, so they can be compressed and carried and stored easily in dry bags, which is beneficial in the mountains where our vehicles are already loaded down with toys and complicated roof rack systems. They come with a case and pump and can be easily inflated and deflated on site. Paddle boards cost anywhere from $1,000 - $2,000 (paddles aren’t always included) and can also be rented from $50-$75/day. A personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket, is required in some places, but always recommended (it’s not as easy to swim in cold water as you might think) and usually included with a rental. It’s also a good idea to wear a large brim hat, sunglasses, sun shirt, and river shoes (Tevas or Chacos) to wade in on rocky bottoms.
Where to Go

In Aspen, there’s nothing quite like drifting down the calm waters of Northstar Preserve, located at the base of Independence Pass. Put in at the Wildwood School and paddle down river to the bridge takeout. A shuttle is required, and most outfitters will provide that service or you can always try to hitch a ride from a local. Pack some beers and snacks (paddle boards are equipped with bungee cords to tie down extra layers, water bottles, and a few supplies) and hang out at “the beach” a nice spot on the river to enjoy the sun and chill on a hot day.
For a full day outing, head down to Basalt and cruise up the Frying Pan to Ruedi Reservoir. Surrounded by wilderness, you don’t need a fancy speed boat to enjoy this stunning spot. Put in at Freeman Mesa, a day use area just past the Aspen Yacht Club—it’s on the north shore, brah. This small inlet is somewhat protected from the wind and chop created by the boats and has a nice grassy area and picnic tables to camp out for the day. If you’re with young children, head another 10 miles up the Pan to Chapman Dam, a campground and day use area, a much smaller body of water where motorboats are prohibited. More like a pond, kids can drift from one end of the lake to other without you ever losing sight of them. This is a very popular camping spot for families, so book in advance if you want to spend the night. Or venture over to the east side of Independence Pass to Twin Lakes ( and gaze at Mount Elbert as you paddle and explore these two pristine lakes, surrounded by dramatic, snow-capped peaks.
Gear Rentals and Guides

Check out Aspen Whitewater Rafting for gear rentals from its locations in Aspen and Twin Lakes. They also run shuttles and guided tours of North Star Nature Preserve from Aspen.
Aspen Kayak and SUP for guides, instruction, and rentals.
Reserve a rental board through Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Basalt. Local board manufacturer Shaboomee offers rentals or check out the reasonably priced offering from the Aspen-base snowboard and ski manufacturer, High Society.

Aspen Saturday Market


aspen saturday market

Every Saturday from 8:30-3:30 the Aspen Saturday Market takes place. A true staple to an Aspen Summer. The market is perfect for indulging in delicious foods such as fresh produce, donuts, and sorbet ice cream. On top of a mouth watering selection of foods, there is plenty of shopping to be done. You can find everything from bikes to art to clothing, so don’t forget your wallet! There is even a petting zoo and dogs that are up for adoption. The Saturday Market is the ideal place to people watch, socialize and take in the views. A great way to kick start your weekend and an even better way to fill an empty stomach.

Snowmass Free Music Series- Thursdays on Fanny Hill


Quick! Put on your dancing shoes! Every Thursday night on Snowmass Mountain there is a free concert. People from all over the Roaring Fork Valley come to eat, drink, and listen to a fresh new band. The drinks are cheap, the company is good and the views are even better. Whether you like Reggae, Blue Grass, or Indie, you will be sure to discover a new artist you love. This is a great time to catch up with your local friends or meet visitors from out of town. Grab dinner at Venga Venga and listen while you eat or enjoy a delicious Italian meal at Il Poggio before the six o'clock concert. Just don’t forget to practice your dance moves before you come!

For more information and an event calendar click here

Doerr-Hosier Center – Downtown Aspen Real Estate Series


Where architecture and wilderness collide.

Among the Aspen Meadows campus lies the remarkable Doerr-Hosier Center. Built in 2007 by Fritz Benedict, this conference center is truly a work of art. Designed with nature in mind, the architectural masterpiece is LEED gold certified and located on Castle Creek. The intention behind the Doerr-Hosier Center was to make nature a conductor in powerful conversations. Hosting events such as the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Doerr-Hosier Center is the perfect place for people to discuss global issues in a peaceful environment.

Visiting this building is an experience. The entryway sets the tone with a winding walkway on a gorgeous pond. This walkway ignites your senses and makes you feel one with the surrounding environment. From the walkway, visitors also enjoy the artwork of Andy Goldsworthy, a small winding stone wall named “Stone River”. This snake-like structure represents everything the Doerr-Hosier Center values. The stone wall winds through the pond, grass and continues into the building, uniting the building to its outdoor surroundings. Reminding visitors to bring the outdoor beauty inside with them.

The interior is equally as special as the exterior. Inspired by Bauhaus design, the interior is simple, functional, and airy. Floor to ceiling windows, skylights, and patios reinforce the buildings goals to bring the outdoors inside. The two art exhibits are the perfect place for visitors to take a break from intense topics or to simply unwind and get inspired.

This place is special, come and take a look.

Remodeling Projects that Pay Off


Ever wonder which remodeling projects are worth the investment? Thanks to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors in conjunction with the National Association of Remodeling Industry, we’ve got the answers. Interior projects with the greatest cost recovery include hardwood flooring refinish (100%), new wood flooring (91%), insulation upgrade (76%) and HVAC replacement (67%). A complete kitchen renovation, new master suite, bathroom renovation, adding a new bathroom and basement conversion to living area ranked lower in the 50% to 65% range. However, Realtors believe a complete kitchen renovation, kitchen upgrade and bathroom renovation add more value for resale and appeal most to buyers. Exterior upgrades found to have substantial cost recovery are new roofing (109%), new garage door (87%), new fiber cement siding (83%) and new vinyl windows (79%). Realtors also agree that these projects appeal most to buyers and are more likely to add value. Whether or not the cost is recovered, after remodeling 75% of owners have a greater desire to stay in their home, 65% have increased enjoyment in their home and 77% feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of their completed project. The most common reason for remodeling is to replace worn-out materials, and owners report the single most important result from remodeling is better functionality and livability.

Check out the full report here.

Will Congress Act to Extend Mortgage Forgiveness?


The real estate brokers at Portfolio Aspen Properties discuss the implications of Congress not extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 by the looming December 31, 2013 deadline, which will mean homeowners that short sell or grant a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure may also end up with a substantial tax liability. Typically, when a homeowner short sells or settles with the bank by granting the bank a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure, the bank agrees to accept less than the full amount of the loan in return for not having to go through the foreclosure process. For federal income tax purposes, the difference between what is owed on the loan and the lesser amount the lender agrees to accept is the cancellation of debt (COD) amount, which is generally considered taxable ordinary income for the debtor. (I.R.S. Code sec 61(a)(12).) A loan modification can also be considered taxable COD if the modification is significant.

In 2007, Congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 (MDDRA) to grant relief to homeowners in the beginning of the housing crisis. MFDRA created exemptions so that homeowners would not have to pay taxes on COD amounts if the loan was on the borrower’s primary residence and other requirements are met.

Currently, the exemptions under MFDRA are set to expire at the end of 2013, in just two months. “With Congress more focused on stopping Obamacare and austerity measures, there is a good chance that the exemptions may not be extended,” states Erik Berg, the owner/broker at Portfolio Aspen Properties.

What does this mean for homeowners? “If you are considering short selling your home or negotiating a loan modification with your lender, now is the time to do it,” says Berg, depending on the situation, the tax liability can be significant and usually homeowners that are considering these options are already having financial hardship.

If you would like to discuss short selling your home in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, or for more information on Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley real estate call us at 970-925-8400.

About Portfolio Aspen Properties
Portfolio Aspen Properties draws from the largest and most comprehensive network of available homes in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley to make sure its clients see all of the properties that meet their criteria. Portfolio brokers deals for clients looking to buy Aspen property, sell Aspen property, and invest in Aspen property. The company also provides its clients with a diverse collection of high caliber luxury rental properties in the Aspen area.

Originally published on "Will Congress Act to Extend Mortgage Forgiveness"

Aspen-Snowmass 2018 Midyear Real Estate Market Review


Summer is officially here and the town is bustling. The flowers are in full bloom, the landscape is lush green, the days are long, and the real estate market is strong. It truly doesn’t get better than this. Summers in the Valley are a cherished season, and there’s no other place I’d rather spend this time of year. The luxury market is particularly robust. During the first half of 2018, luxury activity reached an all-time high with 23 sales over $7 million compared to an average of 17 over the past 5 years. The previous high was set in 2017 with 21 sales. The overwhelming majority of these are newer, contemporary homes near downtown Aspen. Sales in Aspen decreased during the first half of 2018, more so in the single-family market than with condos. The drop is likely limited more by supply than demand. There are fewer listings compared to a year ago, and some buyers are becoming discouraged by the rising prices and narrowed offerings. The average price rose to $1,524 per square foot, a 15% increase compared to the first half of 2017.Unit sales grew 40% in Snowmass Village, boosted by the robust activity in Base Village. Most of the Base Village transactions so far have been Viceroy studio and 1-bedroom condos which has brought the average price down a bit, but per square foot condo prices remain stable. Pre-sales in The Limelight and Lumin luxury condos are also promising, with 7 out of 14 available units under contract in the $1.675 to $3.3 million range. The steady construction progress has certainly brought a renewed sense of optimism to the town. An uptick of activity is evident in the commercial market. In Aspen, Chicago-based developer Mark Hunt recently purchased the historic Boomerang Lodge for $10 million. The City of Aspen is under contract to purchase the former Aspen Daily News Building from Mark Hunt for $23 million. Hunt will design and build the City’s new office space as part of the deal. In Snowmass, a local investment group led by the Romero Group recently purchased the Snowmass Mall for $28.5 million. In addition, the Snowmass Club is under contract for around $20 million to ABA Hospitality based out of San Francisco. The sale will include the 18-hole golf course, spa and health club facility, and management of contiguous vacation properties.
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