East West Partners slated to operate Building 6 at Snowmass Base Village | AspenTimes.com

East West Partners slated to operate Building 6 at Snowmass Base Village

Base Village developers East West Partners, under the limited liability company Snowmass Ventures, is slated to operate the town-owned, community-use Building 6 that will be complete in November.

At a Snowmass town meeting May 7, the council unanimously approved a "non-binding term sheet" that notes Snowmass Ventures as the building's lessee and a to-be-formed subsidiary or nonprofit as the tenant.

The agreement also outlines Snowmass Ventures' "Village Hall" concept, which at the plaza level of the building calls for a restaurant with a bar and approximately 100 indoor seats as well as "community-flex space" with theater rows that can seat as many as 120 people for events such as films, speakers and small concerts.

On the lower level of Village Hall, Snowmass Ventures proposes a 2,600-square-foot game lounge and a separate area to display findings from the 2010-11 Ziegler Reservoir fossil dig.

The plan is to allocate 2,314 square feet of the bottom floor to showcase the fossil discovery, which is about double the space of the current Ice Age Discovery Center on the Snowmass Mall, town spokesman Travis Elliot said May 8.

What's less known with Building 6's new direction is where Snowmass Nexus fits, if at all, into the Village Hall concept.

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"At this point, they're not going to be the main operators, but what role they will play is TBD," Elliot said.

A partnership between GrassRoots TV and Colorado Audio Visual and Design, Snowmass Nexus was the town's most recent frontrunner to manage and occupy Building 6 after Aspen Center for Environmental Studies declined in September to take the lead on the project.

Nexus' plan called for a "community-based live event, broadcast and digital arts center … to uniquely combine presentation, performance and creative spaces, both inside and outside of the facility, with video recording, broadcast and live digital distribution capability."

Elliot said that Nexus "potentially could help program the space as a short-term tenant (or) possibly a long-term tenant."

He added, "Hopefully we can provide some sort of opportunity for them to put their vision to work," noting the hours Nexus spent on its plan.

A collective desire to see the Ziegler discovery take priority inside Building 6 as well as concerns with Nexus' ability to financially sustain its business model were among the council's primary concerns with its proposal.

At the council meeting May 7, the elected officials commended the East West executives on what they view as a "low-risk" investment for the town.

"I appreciate the proposal from East West, in its essence, that East West is taking pretty much all the risk and willing to share profit, if there is (any), with the town on an equal basis," Snowmass Town Councilman Bob Sirkus said.

He added, "The downside to the town is very minimal and I would encourage my fellow councilors to really consider that and try to give direction to staff and East West so that we can try to move forward with this."

Snowmass Ventures will finance the construction and build-out of the restaurant, community flex space and game longue at an estimated cost of $2 million to $2.5 million, according to a memorandum from Elliot and Snowmass Town Manager Clint Kinney.

The town of Snowmass will pay $417,000 toward these three spaces; however, the amounts are derived from $350,000 of already-contributed developer "community purpose" funds and $67,000 of already paid building permit and plan check fees, the memo states.

While the town also will pay $350,000 toward the completion of the Ice Age Discovery area, these funds will come from the remainder of the developer's "community purpose" dollars.

Further, any positive net profit that Building 6 generates on an annual basis will be split evenly between the town of Snowmass, as the landlord, and the tenant, according to the terms sheet.

"We really do think that this building is an opportunity in the village, and we think we have an incredible mountain, we have an incredible skier base, we have incredible support in the community, and this can be that central gathering place that we think is important and we think that maybe the town needs at this point in time," Peter Goergen, chief financial officer of East West Partners' Snowmass office, said before the council. "We do think our (joint venture) is in a position to financially back this thing in a way maybe that some others aren't at this point in time, and that's something that we're ready to make a commitment towards."

erobbie@aspentimes.com