Related under contract to sell Snowmass Center | AspenTimes.com

Related under contract to sell Snowmass Center

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times

Related Cos. is shedding more of its Snowmass real estate, this time in the form of the Snowmass Center.

The company sent a letter to its Snowmass Center tenants Tuesday informing them that it had entered into a contract to sell the commercial property to Eastwood Snowmass Investors, LLC, an affiliate of Eastwood Developments, LLC, which owns and manages the majority of the commercial real estate at Aspen Highlands base. The sale, which includes the center and some adjacent land, is expected to close Jan. 29.

Eastwood will honor the center's existing leases and seek to fill the building's vacancies, said Jordan Sarick, principal, on Wednesday. Otherwise, he wasn't ready to comment about his vision for the property or whether he will seek to redevelop the 36-year-old center as has been discussed in the past.

"It is way too soon to tell," he said, adding that any plans to redevelop would have to happen in concert with the town of Snowmass Village and its comprehensive plan.

"Obviously this site with the grocery store, with the post office, will remain that kind of a node," Sarick said. "I think that's in the comp plan and obviously that's what the town of Snowmass Village stakeholders want."

"I would want to hear from the tenants, I'd want to hear from the folks who visit Snowmass Center, I want to hear from the town and people who live in the town," Sarick added.

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It took a lot of work to make the Highlands base, which Eastwood purchased in 2007, a successful investment for the company, Sarick said. But its spaces are currently full, something many valley residents may not realize, he said.

"From a business perspective, it's actually, I think, turned around quite significantly," he said. "It has been a good investment for us. And I think from a livability perspective, there's a little more vitality, more tenants here, and a little community, which is really nice."

Eastwood's experience owning and managing Highlands will be helpful with the Snowmass Center.

"I think we bring a measure of expertise and local knowledge and, I would hope, professionalism," Sarick said. "I think we are well-suited to the task of rejuvenating the Snowmass Center."

Eastwood also has been involved over the years with residential projects in the Aspen area, including building the Thunderbowl Townhomes at Aspen Highlands. Sarick is from Toronto and continues to do business there, as well.

Leticia Hanke, marketing director for Related Colorado, confirmed details of the contract Wednesday and said that Related Colorado will continue to keep offices in the Snowmass Center.

The news doesn't serve to end suspicions on the part of village residents and stakeholders that Related Cos., currently the primary commercial landlord in Snowmass through various affiliates, is seeking to exit the market entirely. Related announced Oct. 6 that it was in the midst of negotiations to sell its remaining Base Village assets to Vail Valley-based East West Partners, one week after securing Snowmass Village Town Council approval of its preliminary plan application to amend current approvals on the stalled project. It also transferred all of its non-Base Village rental management agreements in Snowmass to First Choice Properties this fall.

If the sales go through, Related affiliates would still own Club Commons II, Mountain Chalet, Snowmass Inn and most of the commercial real estate on the Snowmass Mall.

jill@snowmasssun.com