Long-delayed base village set to rise swiftly
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.
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.