Old Mountain Pedaler building on Main Street in Minturn comes down
Demolition is part of the redevelopment of downtown core
MINTURN — Kelly Toon worked quickly Monday morning to extract one of the hanging flowerbeds underneath one of the windows of the old, red Mountain Pedaler building at 161 Main St. before an excavator got to it.
“I’m just a little distraught here,” Toon said after throwing the flowerbed in the back of this pickup. “There were rumors, but no one really said anything. The town says it cares about history, but they’re just tearing the old buildings down, so they’re just hypocritical, in my opinion.”
The demolition of the building was an unsettling sight for locals still coming to terms with the looming redevelopment of the old mining town’s historic downtown.
The local arm of the Morgan Reed Group closed a deal in November 2017 for several buildings on the 100 block of Main Street, most on the west side of the street. County records indicate that the sale price was $4 million.
The red wood building at 161 Main St., which for years housed the Mountain Pedaler bike shop, founded by Jim (Pope) Popeck, is just up the street from the Minturn Country Club and sat next to the blue building at 171 Main St. that used to house Grammy’s Attic and was once Meyer’s Garage.
Minturn Mayor John Widerman, when reached for comment Monday, said, “it’s certainly sad to see things change in town, especially with buildings like that.”
But he said locals have been well aware that change was on the way.
“Right now, that has been identified as one of the first spots for redevelopment,” Widerman said. “It’s essentially going through the process right now and there’s nothing in our town code for when a landowner can or cannot demolish a building.”
Toon, an architect who has lived in Minturn since 2003, said the oft-photographed building was voted most popular by residents in past town surveys. Now it’s just a pile of wood, glass and rubble.
“‘We don’t care’ should be Minturn’s new postcards for tourism,” Toon said.
Town manager Michelle Metteer said Minturn does not have a historic district, which would have been the tool utilized for the preservation of structures classified as “historic” and that the building was in poor condition after many years of neglect. The town also doesn’t have a requirement in its building code to have a new building plan in place prior to the demolition of an old building.
Widerman said his hope was that Morgan Reed, which has both residential and commercial holdings around the country, including the Mount Princeton Hot Springs south of Buena Vista, wouldn’t keep the lot vacant for long.
“There have been maybe some concerns they were going to demolish the building or something and not replace it for a period of time, but we can’t force anything of that nature, so I think it’s mostly the developer just working with the community to make those decisions,” Widerman said.
Morgan Reed representatives and other Minturn town officials and previous mayors couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, while there was a major phone outage in Eagle County.
Yunlong Chen was last spotted at the Vail Transportation Center between 8:15 and 9 a.m. on Feb. 28; a little while later his ski pass was scanned at Gondola One. That was the last known activity related to Chen.