Guest Commentary: Let’s meet at the Center, Snowmass Center redevelopment proposal |

Guest Commentary: Let’s meet at the Center, Snowmass Center redevelopment proposal

A model of the proposed design for the Snowmass Center redevelopment and expansion brought into Town Council Nov. 4 by Design Workshop, an architectural firm in Aspen.
Maddie Vincent/Snowmass Sun

Two years ago, together with a team of experienced and talented professionals, we set out to thoughtfully create a plan that would refurbish and revamp the Snowmass Center.

Before putting pen to paper, we spoke to our tenants and observed the ways that people gathered, connected, and conducted business in the space. We asked stakeholders and project neighbors to share their ideas and concerns about the Center, and we dug deep into our own development experience to incorporate ideas that have generated new vibrancy into other similar family-owned commercial development projects.

In addition to the feedback we received from our tenants, neighbors and numerous stakeholders, we set out to create a plan that would respect the priorities of Snowmass Village. These include a Center where locals can convene, do business, grab a coffee and stay to visit with neighbors. We value the much-needed, local businesses that have historically called Snowmass Center home, and we’re committed to helping them secure their futures here. The priorities also include a plan that is financially viable and realistic and that would keep the most critical tenants open continuously during the construction process.

At Eastwood Developments, we’ve learned a few things over the years. We know how important it is to stay true to our word and do what we can to adapt to the needs of tenants. This means we don’t move forward with projects that aren’t wanted, needed or supported by their local communities and we keep our commitments.

Not only are we a family-owned business, our entire consulting team is local. This project wasn’t hatched at a desk in some far-off big city. It was conceived and nurtured by spending time in the heart of Snowmass Village, appreciating what it currently is and imagining what it can be. I am proud that every member of our professional team is invested in this town. We all take resident concerns seriously and we are dedicated to getting this project right for ourselves and for our neighbors.

Our redevelopment proposal is moving through the Planned Unit Development process with great momentum — and generating a lot of positive feedback. The master site plan and project direction have evolved with the town and council’s direction, and we have made adjustments to respond to concerns. For example, the dedicated transit hub will designate separate resort van and shuttle zones (distinct from the Village Shuttle area). It also will provide safe pedestrian access to and from the grocery and liquor store. The plan will create new trail connections and provide additional parking to make access to the Center easier, and the residential units will include mid-market options in a variety of configurations designed to attract full-time, year-round residents.

Some of the most important proposed improvements for the Snowmass Center may not be immediately visible, but they’re absolutely essential to the future of the Center. To ensure that the Center works better for everyone, several “back of the house” functions need to be modernized. These proposed behind-the-scenes improvements will help resolve transit conflicts, add usable commercial space and upgrade the existing post office and grocery store to better serve the community.

You may ask why you should care about the financial feasibility and constructability of our proposal. Our proposal is designed to ensure that the project can be completed in the cyclical environment of the resort economy and can be done so without shutting the essential services of the Center for major repairs, remodel, or even a plan that closes the Center for an extended period.

Throughout every phase of project development, we have tried to honor the desires of this community and we’ve worked hard to make sure the choices we make will deliver real benefits that support the quality of life in Snowmass Village. We have worked diligently to create a plan that respects the town’s current and future needs by providing additional affordable housing while protecting priceless open spaces. We’ve created a plan that has relatively low-density site use, supports higher water quality, upholds sustainable building standards, and demonstrates a long-term financial commitment to the town of Snowmass Village.

As we were speaking with stakeholders, we began working on a development plan for the Center that would positively impact Snowmass — while respecting the character of this distinctive mountain community. Our design and planning team has taken a thoughtful, intentional approach that respects the spirit and unique role that the Center plays in the life of Snowmass Village.

Our primary goal has always been, and will continue to be, to provide a year-round, community-friendly, commercial hub for visitors and locals alike.

Now it’s time for this 40-year-old landmark to get an upgrade. We’re committed to doing it right, and we invite you to join us. Together, let’s build a revitalized Snowmass Center and secure a stable future with limited interruptions for our tenants, residents and our entire community.

Jordan Sarick is the president of Eastwood Developments.

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