The ongoing debate between Aspen-Snowmass residents and developers over the fate of the Snowmass Base Village continues. Recently, the project has seen new life after being stalled for years. Aspen Journalism reports that Sunrise Co. and Oaktree Capital Management (who together purchased the Dancing Bear Aspen in 2012) have agreed to work with Related Colorado to develop 44 units in the Base Village buildings. And it looks like Aspen Skiing Co is also back in the game after announcing on August 18 that the 102-room Limelight hotel is again a possibility. So what does this all mean for Snowmass?
Many are glad that the long-stalled project is seeing some action. Said Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado, "The upside of the deal is that it increases occupancy and increases vitality (of Base Village). And together, Sunrise, Oaktree, the Aspen Skiing Co. and Related have the potential to drive real change, to boost occupancy, tax revenues, vitality."
Residents remain wary, however, as expressed last week in a "community outreach" session. Concerns over phasing and the need for more affordable housing were at the top of the list. The Viceroy's proposed second hotel building and the much-stalled Limelight Snowmass project, slated to be the first completed in the proposed base area revamp, could be done by 2016.
The proposed residences, a "mix of high-end, wholly owned and fractional-ownership condos, will be part of a new residence club comprised of three buildings in the Base Village core. Buildings 6, 7, and 8 include the two faux-front, partially constructed buildings above the parking garage, and sit on Lot 3 — just next door to where the Aspen Skiing Company plans to build its Limelight hotel complex," reported The Aspen Skinny.
Parking considerations are another issue in a place where spots are already in short supply during peak periods, but proponents argue that an increased bed base will help existing retail businesses in Base Village to thrive. Residents have also expressed apprehension over how increased- and more desirable- occupancy will impact the "skiing experience" at Snowmass. Reports Aspen Journalism, "SkiCo vice-president of operations Rich Burkley said there's already excess uphill capacity in Snowmass. In terms of the on-hill experience, SkiCo would like to replace the High Alpine chairlift with a faster, higher capacity chair, but must first receive approval from the Forest Service."
Also proposed with a chair upgrade is a renovation of the High Alpine restaurant, and plans to "reinvent" a tubing hill (let's hope they don't reinvent its former moniker, Tube Town).
The Snowmass Village town council is scheduled to meet again today; stay tuned for updates.
· All Snowmass Base Village Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]
· All Dancing Bear Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Dancing Bear Owners Developing Aspen and Snowmass Projects [The Aspen Skinny]
· Base Village Developers Questioned at Community Meeting [Aspen Journalism]