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Snowmass Mall businesses post surprising numbers

Madeleine OsbergerSnowmass SunAspen CO, Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times
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SNOWMASS VILLAGE – When Base Village was first proposed, many local business owners feared the new commercial center would cannibalize sales on the Snowmass Mall.Instead, recently compiled sales-tax data indicates that while the mall was slightly impacted by the opening of businesses in Base Village, the new base area’s retail and restaurant operations are performing worse than those in the Snowmass Mall.Perhaps just as noteworthy is that the worn-but-local-serving Snowmass Center is besting the two other retail centers in the current economy in terms of sales per square foot, according to an analysis recently completed by the Snowmass Village Financial Advisory Board.The report – which will be presented to Town Council on March 21 – shows that gross sales per square foot in Base Village for 2010 were $186; for the Snowmass Mall, $279, and for the Snowmass Center, $443.Sales per square foot did increase in Base Village between 2009, the first year many of those businesses were open, and 2010, by $14 per square foot, from $172 to $186. Over that same one-year period, sales per square foot dropped slightly at Snowmass Mall businesses, from $281 to $279.Not including lodging, gross sales in Base Village for 2010 were $7.9 million; for the Snowmass Mall, $23.4 million and for the Snowmass Center, just over $11 million, for a total of $42.4 million, according to the FAB report. While that’s 18 percent more in total dollars than what was generated in the year 2000, the village-wide dollars per square foot ratio dropped from $293 a decade ago to $280 in 2010.In 2000, there was 122,549 square feet of retail in Snowmass in two primary pods, the Center and the mall; in 2010, that figure increased to 151,901 square feet in three nodes. That figure takes into account both additions and subtractions of local businesses throughout Snowmass as well as some spaces that have seen changes in usage.According to Rick Griffin, chair of the FAB, “We determined that Base Village really didn’t cannibalize the sales activity at the mall. It added things that weren’t there before (such as) the North Face shop and a couple of restaurants.”During the winter season of 2010/11, a key mall space that had sat empty the previous year has been filled with the new Mexican restaurant and aprs ski hot shot Venga Venga. That may also have helped to generate some mall sales activity this season.With regard to the strong numbers at the Snowmass Center, Griffin noted the makeup of businesses down there offer “staples rather than discretionary items.” Those types of businesses appeal to both the resort and local markets.

Part of the problem businesses in Base Village have encountered was the stoppage in residential development that has left a disproportionate number of retail opportunities without the anticipated lodging units to support those businesses. According to figures provided by the Town of Snowmass Village, only about 40 percent of the 613 approved residential units in Base Village have been completed compared to 70 percent of its retail/restaurant spaces. That has left some restaurateurs in all three pods hungry for business. Scott Calliham, the managing partner for Base Camp Bar & Grill said this week that while “Spring has been good for us, I don’t think the Arrival Center has had nearly the impact that people hoped.”This was the first winter that RFTA buses and town shuttles used the Arrival Center, located below the Base Village parking garage. RFTA buses stop in the Arrival Center after cycling through the Snowmass Mall depot, which can make for some anxious moments on powder days.Sneaky’s restaurant in the base, which is owned by Aspen Skiing Co., has reduced its hours of operation, now closing each evening at 7 p.m., Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle confirmed. It’s summer schedule has not been determined, he said.mosberger@snowmasssun.com


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