Base Village developers anticipate core openings, plan for next phase
Just inside the door of the Snowmass Base Village Real Estate Experience office, there is a mini model of the relatively new village area.
Little ant-sized people can be seen skiing on the mini Snowmass slopes, ice skating on The Rink and walking around the tiny Base Village structures. The Limelight hotel, Lumin building and surrounding condos are there, along with The Collective and One Snowmass buildings, which are set to open fully to the public this winter.
But outside of what’s already been built since Base Village development was originally approved by the town in 2004, the model also shows a handful of all-grey, undetailed buildings meant to symbolize the full scope of the 10-year, $600 million updated development plan approved by town officials and set in motion by developers in 2015.
Over four years and five new buildings later, Snowmass Ventures, the title of the East West Partners, Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners collaborative developer group plans to submit two minor amendments to its existing planned unit development projects, or PUDs, with the town in the next month or two to help pave the way for its next Snowmass enterprises: construction of the Fanny Hill townhomes and of Base Village’s “Building 11.”
“We’re in the preliminary design development phases and are close to the point to submit two separate minor PUD amendments for future phasing tweaks,” said Andy Gunion, managing partner of East West Partners in Snowmass.
According to Gunion, since the original Base Village PUD plan and Woodrun V PUD plan, which is for the Fanny Hill townhome project, were first approved by the town, there have been changes and trends in the local market Gunion and his team feel need to be addressed by small architectural tweaks to future phasing, starting with the Fanny Hill townhomes and Building 11.
“The minor amendments mainly tweak the massing and orientation of the buildings,” Gunion explained. “We’re not increasing any square footage.”
For the Fanny Hill townhomes project, five duplexes were originally planned about 300 yards up the hill, including a subterranean parking garage and one affordable housing unit.
Now, Gunion said the preliminary design plan is for 10 single-family units that are larger than the original duplexes and spaced farther apart, but do not exceed the original square-footage, as previously reported.
“These single-family homes will be in a cool pedestrian village people can ski in and ski out of,” Gunion said. “We’re just changing the original density and breaking the units apart more.”
As for the development of the next Base Village pod, starting with Building 11 then moving to Building 10A and Building 10B further down the road, Gunion said he and his team are looking to potentially shrink the sizes of the approved Building 11 units, bumping the total number up from 25 to roughly 50 condos, which could include two deed-restricted affordable housing units, and reorienting the residential building a bit.
Gunion said Building 11 is not planned to have any commercial spaces, but that it is being looked at to house the pool promised to Base Village property owners in the original development plan.
As Gunion explained the preliminary plans for the future of Base Village, constantly pointing to the mini-village model, he stressed that much of the project phasing decisions and details are based off of development costs and real estate trends for the local area.
For example, Gunion said unlike Lake Tahoe — a place which mainly draws real estate interest and investment from Silicon Valley — Snowmass Village draws people from all over the country and the world, creating a more diverse, healthy market.
“It’s hard to identify clear trends, which is why we plan to blend smaller, less expensive units with some higher end, more expensive ones like those in One Snowmass to appeal to a broader market,” Gunion said of the diverse local market and future Base Village development plans.
Gunion also said it’s become increasingly more popular for property owners to rent out their units through companies like Airbnb, including a large chunk of owners in Base Village. Of the six One Snowmass units in the West building that have been sold so far, four are already slated as rentals, Gunion said.
The most expensive One Snowmass unit in the West building to date sold at $3.95 million, or $1,975 per square foot, which is the highest per-square-foot sale so far in Base Village.
According to Snowmass Town Manager Clint Kinney, Gunion and his team have been keeping town officials up to date on their future development plans and tweaks they intend to submit as minor PUD amendments.
Kinney said town officials have assumed there would be minor changes to the originally approved plan moving forward, but that Town Council will still make the final decisions on what amendments will be allowed, ensuring they align with the original PUD plan.
“We are well-aware that they are planning to ask for a few modifications,” Kinney said of the developers’ soon-to-be-submitted minor PUD amendments. “The big thing to understand is the main approval for development happened in 2004, it was reaffirmed in 2015 and there is continued town review of proposals.”
Moving forward, Gunion and his team plan to continue to analyze what phasing decisions would best serve Snowmass locals and visitors, submitting tweaks to the original plans to the town as needed.
Although Gunion and his team are looking toward the future, developers also are anticipating the full opening of Base Village for the first time.
From the multi-use Collective building to new Aspen JUS and King Yoga locations, the center of Base Village will have more to offer this winter than it ever has before, giving people a whole new experience, Gunion said.
“For the first time in the life of the village, the core will be completed,” Gunion said of Base Village this winter season. “It’s never been fully open, so it’s a pretty exciting time.”
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“We’ve got all of these great things going on in (Base Village),” Andy Gunion, managing partner of East West Partners, said to council. “But it is not sustainable if we don’t get the rest of this village built and we’re not going to build it under a plan that makes no sense.”