Breckenridge gets a look at master plan for gondola lot redevelopment
December 22, 2009
BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge’s last major development project is one step closer to reality.
Vail Resorts Development Company (VRDC) will go before the town council next month, seeking final approval for a hotel, condos, commercial space and two parking structures at the base of the BreckConnect Gondola.
One of the project’s major goals is to enhance the flow of people between Main Street and the ski area.
“We wanted this area to feel like an extension of the town, rather than just something separate on the outskirts,” VRDC vice president Alex Iskenderian said. “The gondola has already helped link the ski area with the town, and the development of the gondola lots will help complete that link.”
The town council will review the plan Jan. 12.
The bulk of the land in question now comprises a transit center, the gondola terminal and two large skier surface parking lots.
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“Where the parking is today, a lot of people just get into their cars and drive home. We’re trying to say, ‘You’ve just had a great day on the slopes. Come see what the town has to offer,'” Iskenderian said. “The beginning of town will be right at the gondola, and from there, people will walk down Main Street and have dinner.”
The planning process for the Gondola Lot Master Plan has taken about two years, and the plan received unanimous approval from the Breckenridge Planning Commission earlier this month.
“Since it’s such a big plan, and because it’s the last major development in Breckenridge, we want to make sure the council feels comfortable, too,” town of Breckenridge spokesperson Kim DiLallo said.
As the planning process began, town staff hoped the project would allow for future expansion of the Riverwalk along the upper Blue River.
“The town said to VRDC, ‘Town land is going to be affected. Let’s erase the property lines and figure out how to do this master plan properly,'” DiLallo said. “The Blue River has a lot to do with it. It is really important to keep that a consistent element of Breckenridge.”
Iskenderian said the desire to create continuity between public and private amenities lead to a uniquely collaborative process not often seen in the development world.
“We’ve worked on this hand-in-hand over the last two years to come up with a vision. It’s been a real pleasure to work on, and it’s led to a really good plan,” Iskenderian said.
One of the plan’s requirements is that all the development seeks “the highest levels of sustainability,” according to a memo from the town staff to the town council.
That will include a number of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy features, such as the possible use of geothermal energy.
“We’ve looked at solar; we’ve looked at more conventional things like energy-efficient appliances. There are a whole host of opportunities with a large project like this,” Iskenderian said.
Once the master plan receives the town council’s OK, individual components of the project will require approval as VRDC produces more detailed designs. The company expects to complete the project during the next five to 10 years, as market conditions allow.
Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.