Just another Intrawest clone | AspenTimes.com

Just another Intrawest clone

More than a year ago when the Base Village discussions began I suggested in letters to the editor that, ultimately, the Snowmass Base Village would end up like all Intrawest creations – mostly empty and windy plazas ringed by high-rise condos.

At that time I had already toured many of their existing villages and found these newly created “towns” to be empty of people except during the high season.

My remarks were made in response to the notion that with this new massive development Snowmass would finally become a town, humming with life 12 months a year. In opposition, I suggested that towns were not built overnight, nor in phased 5- to 10-year build-outs.

“Real towns” are created slowly over a great deal of time. They are not manufactured, which is the Intrawest approach. Regardless, the reply from Intrawest was, “Snowmass is unique … we will create something completely different here. This will not look like any other resort.”

Yet with the proposal now before us, they have (as I suggested) only created another clone. There are the 7- and 8-story buildings, the little plazas and, ultimately, the retail fronts that will fill with boutiques and Starbucks.

If you think I’m wrong, then take a trip to River Run Village in Keystone. Our unique town has already been built over there.

If the citizens of Snowmass want yet another grand real estate development to line their pockets, well then fine. But let’s be honest about what it is.

Base Village isn’t going to create a “real town” out of Snowmass. It’s being done for the money. Just as the Burnt Mountain expansion had nothing to do with skiing (and everything to do with real estate development), Base Village has nothing to do with creating a “real town” – it’s just more development.

And when one considers the newly created beds are for tourists and not for year-round residents, that speaks to the issue as well. Intrawest specializes in “hot beds,” preferring to build small condos that encourage rental, not longer-term, use.

And let’s not forget their reduction in employee housing numbers, again cutting back on the people who might actually live in Snowmass. If you want a “real town,” the numbers of year-around residents must increase, not go in the other direction.

Richard Lanman