Base Village developers progress with ‘Village Hall’ plans |

Base Village developers progress with ‘Village Hall’ plans

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

As East West Partners moves forward with its “Village Hall” concept inside Snowmass’ community-use Building 6, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies — one of the town’s first contenders to program the space — is interested in collaborating inside the facility.

Snowmass Discovery also is on board with new plans for the space. The building agreement between the town and East West allocates 2,314 square feet of the bottom floor to display fossils from the 2010-11 dig at Ziegler Reservoir.

The new showcase would be about double the area of the current Ice Age Discovery Center on the Snowmass Mall, town spokesman Travis Elliot said.

“We are especially pleased that the town appears interested in continuing to work with Snowmass Discovery to create an educational experience centered around the ice age fossil find,” a letter dated May 14 from the ACES board of trustees to the town of Snowmass Village read. “ACES is excited to discuss collaboration and a programmatic role that could provide high quality, educational opportunities.”

At a Snowmass council meeting May 21, Town Manager Clint Kinney said the municipality, which pays the approximately $2,000 monthly rent on the Discovery Center, does not anticipate renewing the lease with the mall owners.

The year-to-year lease expires Nov. 1, Kinney said, noting that the space generally closes in October for the offseason.

Two Snowmass Discovery board members walked through Building 6, which is slated for a November completion, in mid-May and are “well-aware of the opportunity and what’s going on” inside the space, Kinney said at the May 21 meeting.

“I hope it’s successful for the Discovery Center,” Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler said. Town Councilman Bill Madsen suggested the elected officials also tour the facility, which Kinney and East West Partners managing partner Andy Gunion agreed to arrange.

Town Council on May 7 unanimously approved a “terms sheet” that outlines Base Village developers East West Partners, under the limited liability company Snowmass Ventures, as the building’s operator and a to-be-formed subsidiary or nonprofit as the tenant.

Along with the Ice Age Discovery showcase at the lower level of Building 6, Snowmass Ventures proposes in its plan a 2,600-square-foot game lounge. At the plaza level of the building, Village Hall calls for a restaurant with a bar and approximately 100 indoor seats as well as “community-flex space” with theater rows that can seat as many as 120 people for events such as films, speakers and small concerts.

“It takes awhile to design a restaurant,” Gunion told the council, adding he thinks it will happen “during the (2018-19) ski season.”

The goal with the food and beverage component, Gunion said, is to feature “different types of concepts” as not to replicate what’s already offered at other Base Village restaurants. He noted this is often “easier said than done.”

Gunion said his team plans to hammer out more details on the restaurant this week.

Snowmass Ventures will finance the construction and build-out of the restaurant, community flex space and game lounge at an estimated cost of $2 million to $2.5 million, according to a memorandum from Elliot and Kinney.

The town of Snowmass will pay $417,000 toward these three spaces; however, the amounts are derived from $350,000 of already-contributed developer “community purpose” funds and $67,000 of already paid building permit and plan check fees, the memo states.

While the town also will pay $350,000 toward the completion of the Ice Age Discovery area, those funds will come from the remainder of the developer’s “community purpose” dollars.

Further, any positive net profit that Building 6 generates on an annual basis will be split evenly between the town of Snowmass, as the landlord, and the tenant, according to the terms sheet.