Owner of Copper Mountain’s Double Diamond restaurant seeks to close business

Approval paves way for potential to add three new residencies to current 31-unit Fox Pine Inn, where the restaurant is housed

The owner of the Double Diamond restaurant in Copper’s East Village is seeking to convert his commercial space into residential use, citing the restaurant’s dwindling financial viability. 

During a May 23 Summit Board of County Commissioners, restaurant owner David Luthi said the landscape of Copper has changed dramatically in the roughly three decades since he opened Double Diamond. That includes less parking access and a decline in business activity in the area. 

“With that change, I guess, I feel like it’s time for me to change too,” Luthi said. “I feel like I gave it my all with a viable business that I no longer think is a viable business.” 

Commissioners voted to approve a request from Luthi to amend the site’s land-use guidelines to allow for a slight increase in residential density. 

The restaurant is currently housed inside the Fox Pine Inn building, which encapsulates 31 condos. The change allows for the restaurant’s owner to pursue a conversion of roughly 3,000-square-feet of restaurant space into three additional residencies, bringing the number of housing units up to 34. The site will also have 44 parking spaces. 

The change approved by commissioners does not completely give Luthi a green light for the project, according to county Senior Planner Sid Rivers, who said that any new unit construction will still have to go through a multistep process for county approval. What the change does do, Rivers said, is permit the commercial space to be used for residential. 

Commissioners received several written public comments from residents both for and against the proposal. Some who live in the building said they were concerned that new construction would lead to problems such as a disruption in building services and possible damage to the building.

They also said having a restaurant in the building is a benefit for residents. 

“We feel that having a restaurant in our building is an asset, and when the Double Diamond restaurant was in business, it was an asset for all of East Village,” wrote Fox Pine residents Jeff and Karen Molyneux. “This project would take away this asset.”

But the vast majority of residents were in support of the proposal, with 87% of homeowner association members voting in favor of it, according to Luthi and other public comment writers. 

“The restaurant has been closed for some time now. Many small businesses did not recoup from the hardships of COVID,” wrote residents Maria Insalata & Eric Zehnpfennig. “We would much rather see the space converted into desirable residential units, beautiful and new, to replace the unused commercial space which is of no use to the owners or our guests.”

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