Viceroy project one step closer to completion
For the first time in almost four years, Related Colorado President Dwayne Romero appeared before the Snowmass Village Planning Commission on Wednesday night, this time with an application in hand.
Snowmass Acquisition Co. LLC, a subsidiary of Related Cos. that purchased Base Village last fall, submitted an application to make minor amendments to the planned-unit development for building 13B, the second phase of the Viceroy Snowmass. The company would like to start construction on the building in the spring of 2014.
The changes submitted primarily concern the number and types of units in the hotel, an added fitness center and changing the restricted employee-housing units to rentals. The Planning Commission approved the application but not without some concerns for the Town Council to consider when it reviews the document.
One concern, raised by Planning Commissioner Jim Gustafson, was about the change in the unit “mix,” which includes studios to three-bedrooms. Snowmass Acquisition Co. wants to change the planned configuration of units in the hotel, reducing the number of rooms from 72 to 67 while increasing the number of beds by adding more two-bedroom units and reducing the number of all the other types.
Craig Monzio, representing Snowmass Acquisition Co., said that based on guest feedback, there is more demand for units with a higher number of rooms, especially in the winter. Twelve units will have internal doors connecting them so they can function as larger rooms.
Gustafson wanted to see data supporting that philosophy.
“We’ve talked long and hard for years about hot beds,” Gustafson said. “I’d like the statistical information. … Traditionally the thinking has been the smaller units are the hotter hot beds.”
He also clarified that he was concerned with occupancy, not how well the units can sell. The Viceroy operates as a hotel, but its units can be purchased as wholly owned residences.
The building permit for 13B was originally issued in 2009. The project was suspended after construction of the parking structure and crown for superstructure, and the permit has expired, according to the application document.
Another proposed modification includes converting a portion of the garage into a fitness center for guests and residence owners. The six displaced spaces would be mitigated by valet parking.
Gustafson asked if construction of the planned Wood Road/Brush Creek Road roundabout, which the owner of Base Village is accountable for building, would be timed around the same time as building 13B.
Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado, said that the original timeline was to complete that project after some of the other buildings in Base Village.
“I certainly appreciate the logic of not putting in new improvements just to tear them up when new projects go in,” Gustafson said. “I’m not sure I’m suggesting that be a requirement (with approval of the planned-unit-development amendment), but I would like to see some thought. … It’s just that it’s stretching out to be a very long period from start to finish.”
The owners also are requesting to change the for-sale restricted housing units in both 13A and 13B to rentals. Renting appeals more to employees, Romero said. The two housing units in 13A have never been sold and currently are being rented to Viceroy employees.
The owners would give first priority to employees of the Viceroy and Related. Housing Director Joe Coffey thought that the proposed rental rates should be brought down closer to those of town-owned properties. The commissioners included in their recommendations to the council that the rates be comparable based on the amenities offered with the properties.
The commissioners approved the application barring any objections after they review the changes to the resolution via email over the next week. As long as no commissioner has any major changes to discuss, the application to amend the planned unit development will go before the Town Council for approval. The commissioners recommended that the council discuss occupancy statistics, rental rates and the timing of physical improvements in town with 13B construction when reviewing the application.
The construction would require some work on the sanitary sewer and water-main lines along Brush Creek Road, which the company would start on this fall.
The chief operating officer of RH recently said the retailer’s presence will invigorate downtown Aspen by day and wake it up at night, but they’ll need some help from the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission.
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