Hick’s new economic development chief oversaw rough times in Snowmass

Announced Wednesday as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s choice to head the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Aspen City Council member Dwayne Romero has a mixed record in his business dealings in Aspen, according to the website Real Aspen.

“Romero is … the president of the Snowmass arm of Related Cos., a New York-based international real estate development and investment firm. Related is the developer of the new village at the base of Snowmass that, dogged by foreclosure proceedings and high-stakes litigation, the Wall Street Journal recently dubbed ‘one of the worst wipe-outs in U.S. ski country.’”

Romero, 45, is a former U.S. Army officer and veteran of the Persian Gulf War who moved to Aspen in the 1990s and helped develop the base area at Aspen Highlands, where numerous businesses have since gone under, according to Real Aspen. Romero currently manages the Mountain Chalet, Snowmass Inn, the Snowmass Mall and the Snowmass Center.

“Smart and personable, Romero was elected as an Aspen city councilman in 2007,” the website reports. “His term expires in June. After ruling out a bid for reelection as a councilman, he recently indicated he was thinking of running for mayor. It is unlikely he will have time for that now. Romero also recently turned down a nomination to become the chairman of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.”

Hickenlooper had this to say in a press release Wednesday:

“Dwayne Romero knows how to create jobs and lead organizations. He helped stabilize and build successful businesses in the Colorado mountains, most recently in Snowmass Village. Dwayne has the necessary leadership training and business management experiences to promote economic development in Colorado and beyond its borders.”

Romero said this in the same release:

“I’m thrilled to take on this role. Gov. Hickenlooper is putting together a team that crosses party lines and sets a positive and constructive tone as we focus on improving the climate for creating new jobs and economic growth. I look forward to connecting with communities around our state as we create this ‘bottom-up’ economic development plan.”

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