Related submits new plans for Snowmass Base Village
The Aspen Times
Related Colorado submitted a set of proposed changes for Snowmass Base Village to the town on Wednesday, all of which showed a shift in approach from the time when the development was first approved in 2004.
The application was one of the milestones Related agreed to when the Town Council extended its Base Village vesting, and the developer met its deadline early Wednesday afternoon. The developer is proposing changes to some buildings and none at this time to others, all with the philosophy of diversifying what Base Village has to offer, said Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado.
Most of the residential buildings in Base Village were originally envisioned as wholly owned, unbranded condominium complexes, he said. The changes Related is proposing, particularly to Lots 2 and 3, will change that.
Aspen Skiing Co. has agreed to purchase and develop Lot 2 into a moderately priced, 102-room Limelight Hotel, like the lodge it owns in Aspen. Sunrise Co. will build a private residence club encompassing the buildings on Lot 3.
“This is a purposeful move to provide greater product segregation, which we think … will bring more guests and more visitors,” Romero said.
Related also is seeking a new overall plan for Lot 6, currently a dirt overflow-parking area known as Lot C. Related would combine the parcel with Lot 4 and relocate the aquatic center planned for that area to the heart of Base Village, adjacent to the Limelight Hotel.
Buildings 10A and 10B on Lot 6 would spread out across the space vacated by the aqua center, and retail would be added along their lower levels, which are adjacent to the central pedestrian walkway.
The aqua center will be open to the public for a fee and free to Base Village guests and owners. Its new location will allow the Limelight to offer poolside food-and-beverage service, Romero said.
Future home of Discovery Center?
Related’s application also includes a proposal to convert an already-completed space — the one currently housing Snowmass Hospitality’s check-in office — into a home for the Snowmass Discovery Center. It’s not a done deal, but Related has offered a space to the nonprofit, said Tom Cardamone, executive director of the center.
“We’re excited about the offer, and we see the potential of that space because of the location,” Cardamone said.
The space is two stories and over 4,000 square feet, about the median of the potential size range suggested by consultant Andy Anway. In a presentation to the Town Council on Sept. 22, Anway said Base Village would be the best of several potential locations for a facility because of its centrality, currently available space, room for expansion, parking and proximity to potential business partners.
“To have a space that’s already built would speed up our timetable,” Cardamone said. He said he hasn’t discussed costs with Related yet.
Snowmass Discovery also would be able to use some nearby outdoor space on the Base Village Plaza — ideal for a mastodon skeleton the nonprofit expects to receive from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Cardamone said. A gondola eventually connecting to the Snowmass Center, which remains in the plans for Base Village, would have a terminus right outside the center’s doors.
“A lot of stars were lining up with this space,” Cardamone said.
The road ahead
Related is asking the town to waive the initial step of the town’s review process, which the council has to vote on whether to allow. The Town Council only has one more meeting — Monday — before the Nov. 4 election, so the newly elected body will deal with that question and the rest of the application’s review.
Skico asked for the same waiver a year ago, when it first applied to convert Lot 2 into the Limelight Hotel, in order to expedite the process. Related also is trying to do that with this application so that it and the council can complete the review process by the agreed-upon date of May 31, Romero said.
Town employees take the first stab at the application, checking it for completeness and referring questions such as the sketch-plan waiver to the council. The Planning Commission takes it up next. Romero doesn’t expect the Town Council to formally view the application before the end of the year.
Nearly three years after Aspen City Council cleared the founder of Jazz Aspen Snowmass to launch a jazz performance and education center downtown, Jim Horowitz said he expects the project will get rolling before the year is over.
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