Some signs of progress visible at Base Village in Snowmass
October 22, 2009
SNOWMASS VIILLAGE – Winter bookings for the new Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village are in the “seven figures” – but one positive sign for the resort’s beleaguered Base Village project.
In addition, payment of a delinquent occupancy assessment for the garage – $174,267 to the town government from the developer – is expected this week.
The banks with which Base Village developer Related WestPac is working have loosened their grip on some money, which will allow certain bills to get paid and the greater Base Village site to be winterized.
“In my world right now, we are trying to focus on things where we can have a positive impact,” Dwayne Romero, president and COO of Related WestPac, told the Snowmass Village Town Council on Monday.
One area where visible activity has resumed is in the gaping hole that will someday be the site of Building 4AB.
“Twenty-five people are working on that hole,” said Jim D’Agostino, senior vice president of construction. Temporary weatherproofing on the garage building is also in the works.
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A shuttle stop across the street from the Viceroy, to serve guests and employees, is also on the developer’s radar. Romero said he has been in discussions with the town’s transportation manager, David Peckler, about the stop.
Related WestPac is also giving attention to incomplete landscaping on Base Village sites E and F, located just north of Wood Road.
“This doesn’t solve the whole problem or remove the wart,” Romero admitted, but it is another item on a list of things the town wants addressed.
The ledger sheet between the town and the developer remains a moving target, with the town on the hook for $1.2 million for the Wood Road bridge. After the garage assessment is paid, the developer will still owe the town about $230,000, according to company spokesman Steve Alldredge.
In other developments, Related WestPac touted the recent completion of its 21-unit Sinclair Meadows deed-restricted housing project, as well as the sale of three of the five employee condos in the Capitol Peak building.
Behind the scenes, other developments may be brewing. There were hints of prospective new owners of buildings 7 and 8 – the Arrival Center and Little Nell Residences-Snowmass – at the council session.
When pushed by elected officials regarding the status of $2 million in insurance money that would provide a temporary facade for the Arrival Center, Romero said: “We are in the midst of a negotiation with another third party [that would] allow us to return to the original idea of the building.”
Romero later confirmed “conversations and negotiations are ongoing,” though he wouldn’t offer further details. Scott Stenman, Related WestPac’s vice president of development, said it may be in the town’s best interest to wait for a permanent solution, rather than go with a temporary fix.
It’s widely believed that Related WestPac and the Aspen Skiing Co. are continuing to talk about the future of these buildings, and perhaps others, in Base Village.
Still, Town Council members’ patience with the developer may be running out.
“I have a lot of trouble taking Related’s promises,” said Councilman Arnie Mordkin.
Councilman Reed Lewis said he looks at the wind-battered plastic covering buildings and wonders when construction will resume. “Hanging a nicer piece of plastic would go a long way,” he said, sarcastically.
Acknowledging that the development firm hasn’t lived up to community expectations, Romero said, “We’re not quite dead yet.”
“Less bad is the new good,” he added after the meeting.