Residents, town react to news of Snowmass Base Village sale | AspenTimes.com

Residents, town react to news of Snowmass Base Village sale

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times

Base Village seen here in fall 2014. KSL Capital Partners, LLC, a private equity firm with offices in Denver, and East West Partners, the Vail-based developer of Beaver Creek, have signed a letter of intent to purchase Related Cos.' remaining Base Village assets with the exception of Lot 2.

A day after news broke that Related Cos. is selling the remainder of Base Village, residents are reacting positively and otherwise.

Reed Lewis, owner of two Snowmass Village Mall businesses, said he thinks Snowmass Acquisition Co., the Related affiliate that owns Base Village, shouldn't be given final approval on its application to amend current entitlements for the project. Snowmass Acquisition Co. will act as the applicant, even though KSL Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm with offices in Denver, and East West Partners, the Vail-based developer of Beaver Creek, have signed a letter of intent to purchase its Base Village assets upon final approval.

"I feel like they've lied to everyone so much that if they want to leave town they should just leave," Lewis said. "I feel like it should go back to the voters at this point. It's so convoluted from the original plan, I just feel like it's not what anyone was promised."

For Lewis, the news was particularly striking given comments made by Related representatives last week when they announced that they were releasing non-Base Village rental-management agreements controlled by their Snowmass Hospitality division.

"They said, 'We're in it for the long haul,' and then literally a few days later, 'we're selling,'" Lewis said.

However, the town likely wouldn't deny the application because of a pending sale, said Town Manager Clint Kinney. The final plan review is when the Town Council ensures that all conditions determined in the preliminary-plan stage are being adhered to, he said.

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"If their final plan doesn't meet the preliminary-plan conditions of approval, then that's certainly a reason to reject the final (plan)," Kinney said. "Selling the property? I don't think so."

Mayor Markey Butler, who told The Aspen Times she has a lot of confidence in East West Partners, said she has no interest in starting over with the land-use review process.

"I don't think our community would tolerate it," she said, noting the applicant's goal of winning final approval by the end of the year so that new construction can start next spring.

"They want to get some livelihood going so their livelihoods can get back on track."

Careful consideration of the final-plan application also will ensure that what the council approves is what gets delivered, regardless of the developer, Kinney said. That includes aspects such as Snowmass Acquisition's agreement to fund operating expenses for Building 6, which will be conveyed to the town as a community facility.

"It's like a contract," Kinney said. "When you have that, whoever has to execute it, we can work through that, but the requirements to deliver the contract are the same."

Kinney said he expects that Snowmass Acquisition Co. will explain the agreement in more detail in its final-plan application. He also expects the new ownership group to be represented in upcoming hearings.

jill@snowmasssun.com

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