Marolt: Base Village developers need help; we need a lobotomy | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: Base Village developers need help; we need a lobotomy

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic

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I think it might be better if we just leave the developers of Base Village alone. Let them run. Let them build whatever they want whenever they want to. There is no point in holding up hoops for them to jump through when we always end up making them bigger, holding them closer to the ground and putting pillows underneath.

The Base Village developers have been granted another extension of time, until 2020, to complete the false-fronted buildings that are the red faces with egg on them of our community. The penalties for not meeting completion criteria that all parties agreed to a little more than two years ago have been waived like a white flag.

Do the developers of Base Village actually believe there is even an agreement for completion? Does the threat of another unenforced penalty worry them one bit? It is honestly like they have free reign over the outcome of this project. I can't think of one single meaningful milestone, contingency, penalty or requirement of the original Base Village proposal that has been enforced, much less completed.

Yes, things have happened over the course of the past decade that have had serious impacts on the original Base Village proposal, but one thing has remained absolutely consistent: Everyone has ignored the agreements for completion. Is it any wonder, then, that it has not been completed?

Isn't the purpose of putting things like completion dates, progress timelines, contingency penalties, community amenities and swimming pool plans in writing to ensure that we get what we bargain for? If a developer can't meet an agreement that they signed and swear to, either they are not the right developer or the project is garbage. More than 10 years wasted on Base Village and three separate developers later, we have proved this beyond any doubt.

I can only fault the parade developers for being naive enough to think they could make this thing work. Most of the blame falls on us for continuing to encourage their dreams in the middle of our nightmare.

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We need to start listening to what the developers are actually saying. It is not the words that fly from their lips that have much meaning. When they tell us that they need more time to make the project better, what they are actually saying is that the whole concept of this thing is hopelessly out of scale with what can realistically be accomplished.

In all businesses, time is money, but none more so than in developing real estate for profit. We know this. We see it all the time. Developers break ground and the race is on to get the project built. Delays promote gray hair and bulk purchases of antacids. The blueprint has been the same since the Great Pyramids of Egypt debacle: Get in, get it up, get out as fast as you can!

So, yes, it is bizarre that the Base Village developers have continuously asked for permission to delay getting it done. This is not a proven strategy to increase profits. It is a desperate cry for help.

Through their delayed reactions, they have said in developer code, time and time again, that the project is far too ambitious for here and the only way it remotely has any slim possibility of working out is if, miraculously, future economic conditions blossom under perfect light and the worldwide orchard of money trees produces a bumper crop that the train of prosperity unloads right here. They need the economy to grow up massively underneath an idea drawn up under the delusions of a golden egghead.

Base Village was hair brain-stormed at the peak of one outrageously prosperous economic cycle and has basically stood still all the way through to what appears to be getting close to the peak of another more normal one.

If this project couldn't be completed along the contours of two economic high points, is there any hope for it? If Base Village is not up before the next recession hits, it could be another decade before it is completed.

Looking back, we can see that we have climbed along the knife-edge ridge between two chasms cut deep by the runoff from poor planning and a wild dream. We can stand strong and enforce the stopgaps designed to protect us in our agreement with the developers or we can continue to accommodate them in their purposeful procrastination hoping that someday this ridiculous development plan will magically work. We have lost our footing. It matters little which way we fall.

Roger Marolt waits patiently for one of the would-be developers of Base Village to tell us something we haven't already heard. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.