Little Nell Residences stumble before Snowmass Town Council |

Little Nell Residences stumble before Snowmass Town Council

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Another string in the Base Village web unraveled Monday night when the Snowmass Village Town Council declined to grant an approval that Related WestPac argued was critical to financing the Little Nell Residences Snowmass.

The move came despite a plea for a building permit from Related WestPac’s Dwayne Romero. Even pleas from several contractors and subcontractors ” who painted a grim scenario of layoffs ” did not move council to approve changes to the Little Nell Residences Snowmass. It did not even vote on the matter, observing that it would not pass.

“We know for a fact we will not get a loan … without a building permit,” said the company’s chief operating officer.

The council did approve changes to the second phase of the Viceroy Snowmass hotel, allowing that project, which the developer says has financing, to continue. After canceling construction of three buildings this fall after financing fell through, the two projects are the only ones Related WestPac plans to build right now.

Although the developer had previously expressed confidence in its funding for the Little Nell Residences Snowmass, it said Monday night that it had lost its commitment for that funding.

Further complicating matters, it sold two of the 14 pre-sold units in the Little Nell Residences with enlargements the council has never approved ” so it needs the council to approve the changes before it promises potential lenders that 50 percent of the units have been pre-sold.

“Those two units are essential to securing financing,” Romero said.

Until now, the developer has been financing the initial work on the Little Nell Residences Snowmass in cash.

“But at some point, we’re going to run out of that pool. And we’re really close,” Romero said.

But council was not willing to grant permission to build the larger units without a promise from the developer to complete an arrival and transportation center, which was put on hold when financing dried up this fall. Since the arrival center doesn’t have units that can be sold, council members worried it could go unbuilt indefinitely. The developer said it would not be able to obtain financing right now for that building.

After the meeting, Romero said he was worried about the Residences ” but he was positive about the approval of the second phase of the Viceroy.

“This is progress,” he said.

The developer will have a second chance to obtain the approvals for its changes at the Little Nell Residences Snowmass when the request comes back before the council this spring as part of a minor planned-unit development amendment.

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