BRECKENRIDGE - The initial design for Breckenridge Grand Vacations' proposed time-share development on Peak 8 hit some resistance in the first of a series of planning hearings Tuesday night.
Breckenridge planning commissioners asked developers to scale back the height and density of the project to fit within the 2003 master plan for the Peak 7 and 8 base areas, and neighbors spoke out against the proposal as presented, saying it would block views from adjacent properties.
"It's a process," BGV co-owner Rob Millisor said. "We're going to respond to the requests of the commissioners and change the design to make a development that works for the town."
The proposal presented to the commission Tuesday envisioned a three-phase, 80-unit development rising six-and-a-half stories on the site of the now-defunct Bergenhof, which is set to be torn down.
The master plan called for the building at the core of the Peak 8 base area, One Ski Hill Place, to be the tallest, with all other developments tapering down around it. BGV's design proposed a building that would stand taller than One Ski Hill at a slightly higher elevation.
"Skiwatch is absolutely dwarfed by this massive structure right in front of it," said Brenda Culhane, a neighbor who spoke on behalf of dozens of owners at the neighboring Skiwatch Condominiums. "Skiwatch owners look out of the window and all they see is a building right in front of them. I think we should try to stick to the master plan."
Other citizens spoke in support of the development, saying it would be an economic boon for Breckenridge.
The new development will help continue more than 100 jobs that would otherwise be cut when BGV's current time-share resort, the Grand Lodge on Peak 7, sells out in the next few years.
Planning commissioners directed developers to revise the proposed design, but warned neighbors the Peak 8 base area imagined in the master plan always involved large-scale developments.
"Skiwatch should not expect that they'll have an uninterrupted view," commissioner David Pringle said. "I don't think anybody should go away thinking that the buildings at the base of Peak 8 are going to be small. We made that decision years ago, that we wanted this to be a prominent, a very stately looking area with timeless architecture."
The project is on a strict timeline. With final approval from planning, developers hope to start utility work and the Bergie's demolition next summer. Full-scale building will follow, possibly starting as early as March 2014, with the first phase of timeshares available by December 2015.
As part of their continuing business plan, BGV executives say they need the construction of the new development to coincide with the projected sell-out of the Grand Lodge on Peak 7.
"It's kind of a machine," BGV co-owner Mike Millisor said. "On some Tuesday we'll close the Grand Lodge sales center and we'll bring in the signs and the model for the Peak 8 project. We might take a day off and then on Thursday we'll have our clients come in to tour that."
Owners say the new building will pay tribute in some way to the fallen Bergenhof, possibly through the name of a cafe or other feature and the preservation of Bergie artifacts.
Regardless of future development, the master plan calls for the Bergenhof to be torn down.