East West Partners: Snowmass Base Village will be effective selling itself
The developer of Snowmass Base Village doesn’t think it will require a fancy marketing pitch in far away places to spurs the sales of scores of residences that will be developed over the next few years.
Instead, officials at East West Partners said they are confident Snowmass will sell itself. The ski area already attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each winter. “Most people who are buying here are coming here already,” said Andy Gunion, managing partner for East West Partners at the $600 million project.
Gunion said he doesn’t perceive that Snowmass Base Village is competing against other resort developments for buyers. The people who tend to shop in Aspen are interested in Aspen, he said. It’s the same for Vail, Breckenridge, Steamboat or Snowmass.
Vail currently has one of the few other major, new residential projects for sale at a ski area base in Colorado. A 323,000-square-foot project called The Lion has 65 luxury condominiums within a three-minute walk of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. It is being touted as the first significant new construction in Vail since 2010. About one-third of the condos have been sold.
Vail and Beaver Creek are markets that East West Partners knows well. The company was founded in the Eagle Valley and has undertaken more than a dozen residential real estate projects in the area.
Gunion said he doesn’t see The Lions and Snowmass Base Village as direct competitors for buyers. The projects are distinctly separate.
“Every area has special attributes,” said John Calhoun, director of sales for East West Partners.
Snowmass is generally viewed as more attractive to people shopping for a resort that is a little more off the beaten path, he said. It’s also unique because the new village is entirely ski-in, ski-out.
Snowmass logs roughly 750,000 skier visits each winter and attracts worldwide customers. About half of the people staying in Aspen during their vacations will ski in Snowmass, according to Aspen Skiing Co. data.
So, it’s a matter of reaching an audience that is already somewhat captive and interested, Calhoun said. A big part of the marketing strategy for East West Partners is reaching out to third-party real estate agents rooted in Snowmass Village who already have established clientele. East West is keeping them apprised of the progress at Base Village and the units coming on line, he said.
Gunion said it made a significant difference to get the project rolling again after the previous developer stalled during the recession. East West Partners teamed with Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners to buy the property and resume construction. Gunion said the start of construction has provided confidence to buyers that the village is progressing and it won’t be an endless sea of rebar.
“A lot of people were waiting to see if it would actually go up,” he said.
Construction is underway on Skico’s Limelight Hotel, which features 99 hotel rooms and 11 luxury condos. Four of the 11 residences have been placed under contract since they became available in mid-January. One buyer is the Crown family, owners of Skico.
Construction also is underway in the Base Village core on the Lumen building, which includes three residences.
The Limelight and Lumen are scheduled to be completed by November.
Construction is also set to get underway on One Snowmass, a project touted as “the face of Snowmass.” The west building will have 11 residences and the east building will have 30 units. Completion is expected in November 2019.
The Viceroy residences, Capitol Peak and Hayden condos have been completed at Snowmass Base Village. When it is built out, there will be another 259 units and the 99 hotel rooms, including everything under construction and planned for the future.
East West Partners says in its promotional material that completion of the Base Village core — with a plaza outside the Limelight that features an ice skating rink during winters and an events lawn during summers — will give Snowmass a long awaited downtown.
Gunion said East West Partners is taking the best attributes of resort villages that it has constructed in the past and applying them at Snowmass.
“A lot of these villages would like to go back to zero and start over,” he said.
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There will be no yards-long buffet tables, no “Best Salad” competitions and certainly no large-scale gathering with hundreds of attendees at the Westin Snowmass Conference Center this year.