Skico seeks phasing change for Fanny Hill Townhomes
The Aspen Times
Aspen Skiing Co. is applying to tie the timing of its Fanny Hill Townhomes project to its part of Base Village rather than the whole, one of several issues the company says need to be resolved for it to move forward with a Limelight hotel there.
Approved in 2004, the townhomes are a residential project on Snowmass’ Wood Road that currently can’t start without the completion of certain buildings in Base Village, all owned by Related Cos. Skico wants to amend the approvals so that it can start work on the townhomes at the same time as the Limelight Hotel it has proposed to build on Base Village’s Lot 2, if it moves forward with purchasing the lot from Related.
This amendment could play into that decision: Skico’s application for the phasing change says that town approval for the Fanny Hill project is a condition of its deal to purchase the lot.
“I’ve said all along that the Limelight, to make any economic sense, needs the Fanny Hill Townhomes and the Mountain Club,” a private membership club that will function out of the hotel, said Don Schuster, Skico vice president of hospitality development.
Skico was expected to break ground on the Limelight Snowmass this year, but it announced at the Dec. 21 Town Council meeting that it would be postponing and possibly canceling the project after updating its cost projections. CEO Mike Kaplan said the company also wanted more certainty from the town and Base Village developer on several issues.
Schuster said the status of the Fanny Hill project is one of those issues.
“This is one of those hurdles in our agreement with Related that needs to be overcome for us to even consider going forward with the Limelight,” he said Wednesday.
The current approvals for the project, officially called the Fanny Hill Cabins, require that Phase 2B of Base Village be complete before a building permit for the townhomes will be issued. The Snowmass Village Town Council approved amendments to Base Village in December that changed the phasing for the project, but that phase would have included Lot 2 and would have followed the completion of buildings at the project’s entryway that are now expected to break ground in 2017.
A memo from the town’s Community Development Department to the Planning Commission notes that the Fanny Hill Cabins were envisioned for a later phase of Base Village because of their location on the edge of the project. The Town Council denied a phasing-change proposal for the project in 2011.
However, with the new schedule approved in December, the change proposed for the cabins might make sense, particularly if it would incentivize the completion of the Limelight, the memo says. The town would prefer that the major work on the Fanny Hill Cabins be completed before improvements to upper Wood Road in 2018, and Schuster said the company agrees that makes sense.
The project’s vesting expired in 2014, and Skico will comply with new employee-housing requirements that have been updated since the original approval, Schuster said.
If the phasing change is approved, Skico anticipates submitting another application for design modifications to the Fanny Hill Cabins, Schuster said. What’s currently approved are more like “cabins in the woods,” and the company is hearing from local real estate agents that those wouldn’t sell well in today’s market, he said. The new design will make the residences more like townhomes, hence the change in how the project is commonly referred to.
The Town Council will review the application at its meeting Tuesday, rescheduled from today because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the amendment at its meeting Jan. 6.
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Alex Rager believes that the search for affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley can sometimes boil down to luck and timing. “When you least expect it and when you most need it is when things happen,” she said.