Owners of Breckenridge Grand Vacations got the green light Tuesday to begin construction on a new time-share development on the Bergenhof site at the base of Peak 8.
The once-controversial resort proposal won final approval from the Breckenridge Planning Commission on a unanimous vote Tuesday night.
"I think this is a project that fits in the community," planning commissioner Eric Mamula said.
The five-story building will house 75 time-share units along with amenities including an aquatics area, spa, cafe and multiple movie theaters. It will also include tributes to the now-defunct Bergenhof day lodge, a historic restaurant at the site, which was set to be torn down before the new development was approved.
The planning commission OK was effectively the last hurdle for the still-unnamed development, which has been in the approval process for roughly a year.
"It's been a long process," Breckenridge Grand Vacations co-owner Rob Millisor said. "But I think we designed a development that the town's going to be very proud of."
Developers redesigned the building several times in response to concerns from neighbors and planning officials, who said earlier plans for the resort would have blocked views from nearby condos and didn't fit within the master plan for the base area.
But there were no objections from a fairly sizable audience to the proposal approved Tuesday, and many people in the crowd applauded when the plan passed the final vote.
"This was a project that had a lot of controversy with it at first, a lot of ill will," planning commissioner Dave Pringle said. "It's a testament to the community, to what kind of effort we've put into making sure our community looks, feels and is built into the future like we'd like to see it."
With final approval secured, work is set to begin on the project in May with excavation and infrastructural preparations. The actual building will likely be constructed next summer with sales beginning in the fall of 2014.
"We'll do the major utility work and dirt work this summer," Millisor said. "Then next April is when we'll start putting in the footers and then we'll go vertical."
The development represents an $80 million construction project favoring local subcontractors, BGV executives said.
With another BGV resort, the Grand Lodge on Peak 7, approaching sell out, the new project is expected to protect 130 local jobs that would otherwise be cut in the next six to eight years, in addition to the 100 new positions owners say it will create.
The project is expected to generate $2.5 to $3 million in town revenues through real estate transfer tax.
The development proposal sparked a wave of debate last year, as neighbors and community members discussed whether the building fit into the Peak 8 master plan, a guiding document which requires all new buildings to be shorter than One Ski Hill Place, the intended centerpiece of the base area.
Opponents said initial designs for the building were too tall to meet that requirement.
Developers reportedly spent time discussing community members concerns and made a number of adjustments to the plans to help mitigate concerns.
In the approved plans, five units have been removed from the proposal and the entire building was shifted to the east to help preserve neighbors' views of the mountain.
Planning commissioners said the final proposal was both supportable under the Breckenridge building code and in line with the master plan.
"I think the changes you have made have brought it in line with that vision we had years ago, when we laid out what was going to happen in this area," Mamula said. "I was underwhelmed in those first couple of presentations and knew you could do a considerably better project, which this is."
It is not yet clear when the Bergenhof will be demolished. BGV executives have said they plan to preserve the memory of the 50-year-old establishment, by using the name or artifacts somewhere in the new resort.