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July 10, 2012
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North Face, Patagonia will be new faces on mall soon

SNOWMASS VILLAGE -North Face and Patagonia are two new businesses coming to the Snowmass Mall, said Westin Snowmass and Wildwood general manager John Curnow at a meeting of part-time residents on July 6. In addition, David Wasserman, principal of the hotel's new ownership group, said this week that he will finalize lease agreements for the Westin's retail spaces at some point in the next month. The Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass, formerly the Silvertree Hotel and Wildwood Lodge, were purchased in June 2011 by the Starwood Capital Group and Wasserman Real Estate Capital Group. Renovations on the properties began in April. The renovation plans, which Curnow presented details about to the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board, address mostly the interior of the properties. The new owners have also applied to amend the original zoning for the property to allow them to build an ice rink where the clock tower is now, as well as some terracing leading to a new slopeside bar. The planning commission will review that application on July 11. "If we can accomplish those things, that gives folks more reason to spend more time in Snowmass," Curnow said on July 9. "It's not only good for my guests, it's good for other guests of Snowmass."The new owners' goals for the Westin also include upgrading the retail spaces, which have not been guaranteed to previous tenants. At least four of the current businesses in those spaces, including Cool Dog Sunglasses and Snowmass Bakery & Caf, were told last spring that their leases would not be renewed.Curnow said last week that he didn't know what all businesses would be housed in the Westin, but he did know that North Face and Patagonia would be opening stores there. Wasserman told the Snowmass Sun in March that tenants were asked to present a proposal of renovations and a new lease agreement. He said on July 9 that he is currently reviewing those proposals and expects to finalize them in about a month. Some business people on the mall, who wished to remain anonymous, have expressed concern that local shops are being replaced by big corporate retail and that the feel of the mall is changing. They said visitors like to shop on the mall because of the locally owned stores that they can't find at home or in Aspen. However, Wasserman said his intention is to keep all the tenants currently operating businesses in those locations, the majority of whom are local, and that he is not talking to any other prospective tenants for those occupied spaces right now. "We're creating a first-class experience," Wasserman said of why he's asking tenants to update their store interiors. "We have a mountain as good as any in the world, and a hotel as good as any in the world. That's all part of what we're trying to present." Susan McNamara, owner of Accent on Wildflowers, said she is excited about the changes to the mall, calling them "a shot in the arm." "It gets so quiet here sometimes," she said. "Anything they can do to get people in the mall (is good)."McNamara said the new ownership is honoring her existing lease, which expires in two years. She hopes to work out an agreement so that she can stay in that location long-term. Other additions to the properties include two bars by New Belgium Brewing Co., the slopeside Ranger Station and a yet-to-be-named brewpub inside the Wildwood. Scott Cochran said at the part-time residents meeting that New Belgium would be serving some of the beers that it only serves at its Fort Collins brewery. Curnow said that Snowmass needs to figure out how to extend its success beyond the winter season, and that the business models the new hotels are bringing in can help with that. He said this is the start of a long-term investment by Westin in the area. "Change is a good thing sometimes, and change is necessary sometimes," Curnow said. Wasserman called Snowmass the "best underserved mountain in the United States," citing that as a reason for investing in the hotels there. "It ought to be a place where people want to come basically four seasons," he said. jbeathard@snowmasssun.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 10, 2012 06:37PM Published Jul 10, 2012 06:07PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.