At 50, Snowmass Experiences a Mid-Life Renaissance

2017 has been a year for new beginnings in Snowmass. With new ownership at the helm of two of the three commercial nodes and ambitious development plans for both, Snowmass, on the cusp of its 50th anniversary ski season, is turning toward the next 50 years with a renewed outlook.

Snowmass Center Redevelopment

First the new news. A major proposal to redevelop the 37-year-old Snowmass Center is beginning to make its way through the town’s land-use review process. New owner Eastwood Snowmass Investors, whose local face is Jordan Sarick, bought the aging shopping center from an affiliate of Related (also the former owner of Base Village) for $16 million in 2016. Sarick, who also owns much of the commercial village at Aspen Highlands, wants to create a mixed-use development of multiple buildings at the Snowmass Center, with residential surrounding a commercial core that would function much like a “main street.”

The Snowmass Center has always been the town’s node for local-serving commercial businesses, notes Sarick, who also cautions that it’s too early in the land-use process to know many details of the project. “What we’re trying to do,” he explains, “is respect the vision of the Snowmass Village Comprehensive Plan process … and work within what the Town of Snowmass Village and its stakeholders want to articulate.”

Rough plans for the Center include a modest expansion of commercial space, most of it in a new building closer to Brush Creek Road and our Snowmass office. At the current Center building, the “annex” (the wing where Taster’s is) would be removed, and the focus of the redevelopment would be on more ground-level retail, with public gathering areas, sidewalks, and parking on both sides of the building. Current businesses such as the grocery store, post office, and hardware store would stay. Eleven employee-housing units are proposed to be added to the second floor.

More heavily weighted in the plan is the free-market residential aspect: 62 new free-market residences contemplated in buildings to the north, east, and south of the existing Center building. Details on these units are slim at this stage, but given the amount of slopeside development happening in the next few years, Sarick says to count on the Snowmass Center residences to be geared toward locals or long-term second-home owners, those who want the convenience of shopping and other services but don’t necessarily need the hospitality services that typically come with ski-in, ski-out property.

Although the proposal expands the square footage of the Center fourfold, the development as a whole takes up very little of the land that it sits on—15 of the 18 acres of the site will be retained as open space, with improved connections to existing trails.

With the Snowmass Center application in the earliest stages of the review process (the town’s Planning Commission began its review of the “sketch” plan in October), it’ll be a year or two, minimum before final approval is given, and exact details are known.

 

Base Village Progress

Much further along is Base Village, where construction on the next phase of the mixed-use, nearly 700-unit development has been going full throttle since this spring, shortly after the partnership between Aspen Skiing Company, East West Partners and KSL purchased it from Related at the end of 2016. Debuting in fall 2018 will be a portion of the village near the Elk Camp Gondola, including a 99-room Limelight hotel, a small building with residences above a Four Mountain Sports shop, a 230-member private mountain club, a public events plaza, and the town-owned Discovery Center, whose uses are yet to be determined but are intended to be inclusive and public.

New this winter is the launch of the next wave of residential sales in Base Village. Coming to market around the third week of January are 55 residences that are currently being built in the core and 50 units in the refurbished Viceroy hotel building. Here’s what’s in the works:

  • 11 residences in the Limelight hotel building, including nine on the top floor. The 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units offer views up the ski mountain and downvalley, and are intended “for the person who wants to be part of the social element in a cool ski village,” according to John Calhoun, East West Director of Sales and Marketing.
  • Lumin, a small building in the middle of Base Village with a Four Mountain Sports shop on the ground floor and three residences above. There’s one four-bedroom penthouse that’s “unlike anything else in Snowmass,” according Calhoun, and two residences on the second floor, one with three bedrooms and one with four. All three customizable residences feature a contemporary design with open floorplans, high ceilings, big timbers, giant picture windows.
  • One Snowmass, the two long-unfinished buildings (known as Buildings 7 and 8) over the Base Village parking garage, slated to be completed in summer 2019. Together the two buildings will comprise 41 residences, 11 of which will be offered for fractional ownership. Although One Snowmass will go to market this ski season, the 11 full-ownership residences in the west building (Building 7) will be released first.
  • 50 previously unsold residences in the Viceroy are being officially put on the market after East West did a “reexamination” of the units and their differential pricing. These units will benefit from a forthcoming refresh planned for the units including new carpeting, paint, and furniture. In the meantime, nine are being pulled from the rental inventory this winter for showings. Including a $4 million renovation of common spaces to be completed by December, “the Viceroy will have a completely different feeling from the moment you enter the front door,” says Calhoun.

Speaking of the Viceroy, part of its current renovation includes a whole new look for the main restaurant and lounge, which as of December 15 will serve the public as Toro Gastrobar, a pan-Latin eatery by acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval (who also owns Venga Venga on the Snowmass Mall). It will feature a colorful vibe, a focus on shared plates, and tequila lockers in the Toro Lounge bar. East West also just announced Cafe V, a new modern coffee establishment to open in the lobby of the Viceroy. And change is also coming to the former Ricard space on the Base Village beachfront (formerly operated by the Viceroy), which has been leased to local restaurateur David Dugan (proprietor of Base Camp, Slice, and Sake). Dugan is transforming the space into State 38, a sophisticated yet casual restaurant with a focus on authentic Colorado mountain fare. (The name references how Colorado ranks historically in joining the United States).

One more note on Base Village: The fate of the 10,000 sq ft public building known as the Discovery Center (or, Building 6) is still unknown as the Town of Snowmass Village continues its search for a tenant that can make it a dynamic community and visitor draw. It was originally envisioned as a home and museum for Snowmass Discovery, the local nonprofit charged with educating the public about the nearby find of the finest high-elevation Ice Age fossil site in the world, but a hoped-for partnership with ACES (Aspen Center for Environmental Studies) fell through. All options, including selling it, are on the table at this point.

 

ENCLAVE ADDITION

Another project that’s recently come to light is an application by The Enclave to add five new residences to the 40-unit luxury townhome project, along with a whole host of improvements including a new arrival center, adding an underground garage along with reconfigured parking, replacing roofs and refurbishing siding. The new units would be built on the west side of the property, where the Woodrun ski lift used to be, although there is some concern from neighboring Crestwood owners about their views being impacted. The Enclave proposal has been deemed a Major PUD application, so approvals are probably about a year out.

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