Mall owners must get creative | AspenTimes.com

Mall owners must get creative

Although I promised myself, my wife, family and friends that I would temporarily back off from further criticism of the Snowmass Village Mall owners and their total lack of participation in the planning of the new tri-nodal town core (Base Village, the mall and Snowmass Center), my blood pressure once again surged at last week’s Town Council open house and subsequent community comment period concerning the Base Village sketch plan application.

Mary T. Brown, from Intermountain Corporate Affairs, representing several mall owners, once again tried to justify why the mall owners have done nothing whatsoever to contribute to the planning of a viable and vibrant tri-nodal commercial core, and she made it clear that the mall owners do not intend to participate in the planning process for the foreseeable future.

Many of the mall tenants are justifiably concerned about their future economic viability and they are mistakenly placing blame for their predicament on Base Village, the Skico and Intrawest.

I would suggest that they refocus their emotion and energy and do whatever they can to force their landlords (the mall owners) immediately into a proactive planning and redevelopment mode.

At a Town Council meeting several weeks ago Councilman Bob Purvis put this matter in perspective when he noted that “(his) problem in betting the future on the mall (is he has) no assurance of where the mall will be in the future. If the mall owners want to come in as equal partners in the future, they should come in now.”

If the mall owners and tenants would step back and view the mall as one part of an integrated commercial core and begin working immediately with the planners involved in Base Village and the Snowmass Center, I think they just might come up with some very creative and viable concepts; concepts that would incorporate a unique, highly recognizable and marketable theme that would overlay and unify the commercial and entertainment areas of the mall.

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This concept also would facilitate the development of additional hot beds and expanded and improved conference facilities at the mall, which would have the added benefit of reducing the residential density and mass in the proposed Base Village plan.

We’re not suggesting a Disneyland or amusement park-type attraction. We envision a theme that would incorporate and emphasize the environmental, educational, commercial, entertainment and year-round recreational assets that are unique to this community and that would differentiate the mall from the new Base Village and the redeveloped Snowmass Center.

This separate and distinctive attraction must be compatible with the other two commercial nodes, yet allow the mall and its tenants to achieve economic viability independent of the other two commercial nodes. This concept would result in the mall becoming an attractive and unique year-round destination for families, singles, conferences and event planners.

All three nodes would then ideally be positioned to make their maximum contribution to the success of the revitalized village commercial core, which would benefit the entire community.

I, along with others in this community, would volunteer our time and creative juices to working on this concept if the mall owners would send out a signal that they are prepared to roll up their sleeves immediately and join the process.

The mall tenants who are still trying to persuade the Skico to place the start of the new Sam’s Knob Express lift at the mall level rather than in Base Village must understand that this artificial mechanism to get people to stop at the mall will only frustrate and anger our residents and guests and create further hostility toward the mall.

Better that the mall owners and tenants give our residents and guests a strong and compelling thematic environment to attract them to the mall. The new on-mountain people-mover and shuttle service will get us up there if there is a good and compelling reason to go there.

Let’s all be creative and work together to make the new commercial core vibrant and economically successful.

Mel D. Blumenthal

Enclave Homeowners Association