Letter: Move ahead with Base Village
The Base Village development is at a critical crossroads. The Town Council must decide if Snowmass Village should move ahead and restart development by extending vesting for the developer or if we should continue to stare at construction fences and rebar.
The implications of each alternative are significant. Restarting development will provide a sign to the outside world of potential visitors and guests that Snowmass Village is back and a viable multiseason resort. If our elected representatives on the council choose not to extend vesting at this time and wait for the promised updated development plan, the economic malaise in Base Village and the mall will continue. The current bed base in Snowmass cannot support the amount of available commercial space. The sooner we get our residential and commercial space in balance, the better it will be for the economy of the town.
One argument I’ve heard for not extending vesting now is that people want to know what the new development concept will look like. With the recent announcements of the resurrection of the Limelight project by Aspen Skiing Co. and the development of Lot 2 with a fractional-ownership project by Sunrise Co. and Oaktree Capital Management, we now know almost as much as we would if we waited for the amended planned unit development.
There are still issues to be resolved before the Town Council should approve a resolution to extend vesting. Important terms need to be appropriately defined. The town needs to have security for the completion of the private buildings, perhaps in the form of a financial penalty for the developer to incentivize the completion of construction. The process for handling a missed milestone should be modified so that vesting will be suspended until completion of the milestone, when it will automatically be reinstated without going back to the council so Base Village construction continues.
We should have concerns about the trustworthiness of Related. Our Town Council needs to negotiate to address these concerns and alleviate them as much as possible. Will the deal be perfect? No, but if our council can negotiate a deal that provides for our needs, then the way forward is now.