Letter: Some questions to ask about proposed Basalt hotel
Before deciding where a hotel should be located in Basalt, it will be helpful for the community to better understand the reasons for considering a hotel.
Some questions to ask:
1. What type of guests will use this hotel? What will an average room cost?
2. How will occupancy rates fluctuate with seasonal activities in the valley?
3. What are the details for current hotel/motel rooms in Basalt? Number of rooms, room rate, monthly occupancy rates and type of guests currently staying at the Aspenalt, Basalt Mountain Inn and Frying Pan River Lodge?
4. How does the new Willits Elements Hotel, with 113 rooms, affect the demand for a hotel in Basalt?
5. Several years ago, Aspen Skiing Co. considered building a hotel in Basalt. What did they learn that made that made them decide not to invest in Basalt?
6. If a hotel in Basalt is counting on support from the Rocky Mountain Institute, how does that work in terms of commitment between the hotel and the institute? Number of guests from the institute per year? What happens if it cannot deliver the guests?
7. How much retail, business and condominium space is currently vacant in Basalt?
Some questions to think about though the answers are subjective:
1. Will hotel guests use the Basalt hotel as a base camp for a vacation in Aspen? How does that contribute to traffic congestion on Highway 82?
2. How much effect does a 60-room hotel have on retail in Basalt when Aspen is just up the valley?
3. What are the assumptions we are making in saying a hotel will bring “vitality” to Basalt? “Build it and they will come” is a very dangerous assumption, as demonstrated by recent developments such as River Walk and Riverside Plaza, which both have many vacant spaces.
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An entrepreneur’s plea for a rushed commitment from Crown Mountain Park directors on his proposal for a 90,000-square-foot, indoor “sportsplex” should be delayed for proper vetting.