Marolt: It’s time for Related to get moving or get out of the way
October 18, 2013
Snowmass Village exists in a giant snow globe, right? It was supposed to be that only the snow swirled around this idyllic setting to create an escape when things got shaken up, but ever since the founders and their successors and the successors to the successors of Base Village added construction dust and mirrors to the mix, it has been a little hard to see what's going on in here. Only now are things beginning to settle after the big shakedown so that we have an idea of what's still standing. Clue: It isn't principal or principle.
The past few weeks of Grocergate have made it clear that the only plan Related Cos. have for Snowmass Village and its majority stake in the pain in our necks is to sit on its sore butt and wait for the market to come back. I don't mean Village Market. It is the real estate market, and it seems Related is waiting for 2006 again. In the meantime, the immense space it owns is available to the highest bidder, no questions asked other than "How much will you pay?"
We have already done what we can to get Related motivated and under control. Now our challenge is to not undo it.
A funny thing is happening in the real world. Since the economic implosion of 2008, the country has worked very hard to recover. We are seeing lots of people becoming active, creative and innovative. The future certainly ain't what it used to be, but it is brighter than what our past is. Fast forward to Snowmass Village, and you will see that we are still slowly going backward.
Now, if we, the residents, the legal, and nearly so, voters of this community hadn't had the foresight to do something within our power to ameliorate such a harmful lack of motivation on the part of the engineers of our renaissance, then we would now be in a snow globe of hurt. Gladly, this is not the case. We had the sagacity, back when bubbles were what we wrapped superfluous new things we could afford to buy on credit in, to place a time limit on the vested building rights for Base Village. We were even generous enough to extend those rights a little, but it was clearly understood that the builders of Base Village had 10 years to get the thing finished and cleaned up. That's it!
That clock has been ticking. According to our agreement with Related, it has just over a year left to drive the last nail in its own coffin, aka the new Base Village. Our job now is to firmly remind Related of its obligation to do this. If it doesn't finish by November 2014, it has to go through the process all over again, from the beginning, with nothing guaranteed. And you thought we were powerless against its lack of consideration of this community's needs.
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Of course, Related thinks it is going to get an extension. Its argument is that it ran into circumstances that nobody could foresee. And our answer will be, "We know, and that is precisely why we put into the agreement the part about finishing this project in a definite amount of time that extends far beyond what should have been the normal completion time. Ten years was the contingency plan! It is to protect us from precisely this kind of damaging stagnation of a do-nothing attitude on the developer's part."
Here's the thing: We need to let Related know right now that under no circumstances are we going to wind the clock again to give it more time to simply wait around. We need to force this issue that threatens to dog our town into our retirements. The best possible thing that could happen is that Related finally realizes that its quest for village domination isn't going to happen and it ends up selling Base Village piecemeal to eager independent developers who create something organic here that won't end up looking like another Beaver Creek. Can you believe that we actually wanted to be that at one point? Aaargh!
The sooner we send this message, the better. Related has done nothing to show it deserves additional concessions to the already generous timeframe we gave it to get Base Village completed. The debacle with Village Market is the load of crap that has snapped the camel's back. It has proved that Related is not the partner we should trust to move us into the future. It is not our friend. It already has too much power. It is a strip-mall developer in a Base Village facade.
Roger Marolt has a dream: Somebody finish Base Village, for crying out loud! Contact him at email@example.com.
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