The main building of the Viceroy hotel in Base Village stands in the background in this photo. In the foreground is the roof of the parking garage, upon which Building 13B is to be built.
The main building of the Viceroy hotel in Base Village stands in the background in this photo. In the foreground is the roof of the parking garage, upon which Building 13B is to be built.Smith / Aspen Journalism Credit: Brent Gardner-Smith / Aspen Journalism

SNOWMASS VILLAGE — The developers of Base Village in Snowmass may seek to change the use of the second phase-building of the Viceroy, which was approved as a condo hotel.

Snowmass Village planners are reviewing plans for a proposed seven-story, 86,000-square-foot building that includes 67 residences just uphill from the existing Viceroy Hotel.

But that second phase of the Viceroy, commonly called “13B” and first submitted to the town for a building permit on March 24, may end up different than envisioned. The building’s owner, Snowmass Acquisition Co. LLC, wants to open a new dialog with the town about changing its original approvals.

Snowmass Acquisition Co. LLC, the entity created to repurchase all of Base Village, is a subsidiary of Related Colorado. It recently submitted a “pre-sketch plan review” of the Base Village development, asking to start a conversation about approved buildings, public improvements and an extension of the project’s vesting rights. The initial Base Village project was approved 10 years ago.

A series of meetings between Town Council, Snowmass Village Planning Commission, Snowmass Acquisition LLC and the public have been scheduled to discuss the stalled project. The first is set for May 20 from 6-8 p.m. in Snowmass Village Town Council chambers.

“The pre-sketch plan meeting was intended for the applicant to have more of a community conversation with the Town Council and Planning Commission,” said Julie Ann Woods, the community development director for the town of Snowmass Village.

“Hopefully by the end of that third meeting there will generally be some consensus about what’s important to town, the community and Snowmass Acquisition Co.,” Woods added.

Dwayne Romero, CEO of Snowmass Acquisition Co., specifically wants to discuss the idea of re-purposing 13B. The summary of the pre-sketch development proposal includes asking whether 13B should be changed to an “amenities+employee housing” building.

Romero explained Tuesday that, “There has been no decision on any proposed changes from what is currently approved for 13B. We are currently evaluating our plans for that new building and part of that evaluation involves looking at the addition of new amenities and services.”

Market conditions have changed tremendously since the first Base Village approval of 2004 and Romero has said that re-examination of the plan is necessary in order to provide a salable product.

Snowmass Acquisition Co. L.L.C’s non-binding series of discussions that open Tuesday and include Town Council and the planning commission, is expected to include the floating of trial balloons.

Could a promise of more employee housing make a private club an easier sell to elected officials?

Romero suggested he won’t be afraid to at least ask.

“Buyers have come off the sidelines to purchase units that appeal to their lifestyles,” he said. “This is very good news for the Snowmass market and the Town. But to respond to that demand, we need to re-think and re-evaluate our plans for 13B.”

He added, “The market continues to strengthen, and we want to play into that strength and respond to that shift with the design and presentation of our offering.”

Looking back across the empty center of Base Village toward the Viceroy hotel.
Looking back across the empty center of Base Village toward the Viceroy hotel.Smith Credit: Brent Gardner-Smith

Other changes?

That’s not all Romero will want to talk about with elected officials, town staff and the public during these non-binding meetings.

Other items that could become fodder for discussion include:

• Lot 2, site of the now-cancelled Limelight Hotel project. “Changes could include change of use to hotel and/or fractional, change in unit count across Building 4AB and 5, and the elimination of the Building 9 series,” according to the application. Lot 2 was originally envisioned for condo units and mixed-use buildings.

• On Lot 3, the applicant is exploring whether time-share could work in buildings 6, 7 and 8 and whether the unit count should increase accordingly. The transit center and the buildings with faux fronts along Wood Road are part of this section.

• Other agreements centering on parking and restricted housing could be addressed.

• Extension of the project’s initial vesting date to Nov. 3, 2019, (from 2014) will also be part of the upcoming discussions.

Snowmass Village Planning Commissioner David Rachofsky, who admitted to being “very disappointed when Skico withdrew their application for the Limelight hotel,” said, “I certainly would like to see Building 13B get going as soon as possible. I’d like to get the whole Base Village going as soon as possible.”

Editor’s note: Aspen Journalism’s Government Desk collaborated with the Aspen Daily News on this story. The News ran a version of story on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.