Long-de­layed base vil­lage set to rise swiftly

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Aldo Svaldi

Snow­mass, the ski re­sort near Aspen, may fi­nally ob­tain a base vil­lage worthy of its slopes.

East West Part­ners, the Aspen Ski­ing Co. and an af­fil­i­ate of the in­vest­ment firm KSL Capital Part­ners an­nounced Thurs­day they had com­pleted their pur­chase of the Snow­mass base vil­lage project.

They also pledged to get mov­ing on the long-de­layed project once the snow melts this spring.

“Af­ter over a year of hard work by all par­ties in­volved, we are thrilled to have closed on this ac­qui­si­tion. East West has been pur­su­ing this project for many years, so it is ex­tremely ex­cit­ing for this op­por­tu­nity to fi­nally come to fruition,” said Craig Fer­raro, manag­ing part­ner at East West, in a state­ment.

The Snow­mass Ac­qui­si­tion Co., an af­fili-

ate of the New York-based Re­lated Com­pa­nies, sold the parcels for an undis­closed amount, end­ing nearly a decade of construction fits and starts that in­cluded lit­i­ga­tion, a trip through fore­clo­sure and un­fin­ished build­ings.

Re­lated pur­chased the project for $169 mil­lion in 2007 from de­vel­oper In­trawest and Aspen Ski­ing, which turned its fo­cus to on-moun­tain devel­op­ments, just ahead of the worst re­ces­sion since the 1930s.

Four Euro­pean banks fund­ing the project pushed it into fore­clo­sure, but Re­lated man­aged to re­gain con­trol in 2012, beat­ing out a bid from East West and KSL Capital.

Re­lated com­pleted the first phase of the Viceroy Ho­tel and a chil­dren’s ski school, as well as some res­i­den­tial and re­tail space. De­spite ef­forts at cam­ou­flage, the base vil­lage has an un­fin­ished feel to it.

“Snow­mass is our most pop­u­lar moun­tain of the four we own, and it sees the most skiers days,” said Jeff Hanle, a spokesman for Aspen Ski­ing Co.

More ac­com­mo­da­tions are needed to keep skiers around and pro­vide the crit­i­cal mass of bod­ies needed to sup­port the restau­rants and re­tail­ers, he said.

The pur­chase in­cludes all re­main­ing devel­op­ment parcels and com­mer­cial spa­ces in the base vil­lage, the Snow­mass Hos­pi­tal­ity prop­erty man­age­ment com­pany and the 173-room Viceroy Ho­tel, along with the un­sold con­dos at the Viceroy.

Part­ners in the joint ven­ture started draft­ing plans af­ter the deal came to­gether in Septem­ber. Their ini­tial fo­cus will be on the Lime­light Ho­tel, which al­ready has a com­pleted foun­da­tion and park­ing garage, a pub­lic plaza and ice rink, a com­mu­nity build­ing and two “front door” build­ings at the en­trance of the vil­lage.

East West has sev­eral re­sort and ur­ban devel­op­ments un­der its belt, in­clud­ing Beaver Creek Vil­lage, Bach­e­lor Gulch, Breck­en­ridge’s Main Street Sta­tion and the River­front Park devel­op­ment in the Cen­tral Platte Val­ley in Den­ver.

RJ San­gosti, The Den­ver Post

Skiers and snow­board­ers pre­pare to hit the slopes near the Snow­mass Vil­lage Mall in this 2005 pic­ture. Snow­mass is the most pop­u­lar of the four ar­eas owned by Aspen Ski­ing Co.

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