Breckenridge luxury hotel project’s first open house opens eyes
Following a list of some of the community benefits the developers looking to build a 150-key luxury hotel and 50 wholly owned condos at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge are highlighting.
• A new high-end lodging option that Breckenridge currently lacks
• More than $1 million in new incremental tax revenue annually along with an estimated $1.7 million through the town’s real estate transfer taxes
• New workforce housing
• A partnership with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center in which the center will get a 1,000-square-foot ADA compliant locker room with easy access to the mountain.
• A guarantee the hotel and condos will not exceed the height of One Ski Hill Place, the tallest building at the base of Peak 8.
• A “dramatic precedent” for community benefit packages for future developments with a $125,000 contribution to the preservation of Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve, or to be spent at the town’s discretion, and — this is new — the creation of an Environmental Improvement Fund to help maintain Cucumber Gulch, funded by over-night stays at the hotel.
• Controls to mitigate any problems on Ski Hill Road should new traffic related to the hotel exceed expectations
• A new pathway for career advancement in Breckenridge.
• The abandoning of Small Mill Creek Road
• More parking than what’s required by town code
IF YOU GO
What: Open house for project at the base of Peak 8
When: 4-7 p.m. June 12
Where: Grand Colorado on Peak 8, 1627 Ski Hill Rd, Breckenridge
Info: Learn more about the local impacts and benefits to the community. Snacks and light refreshments provided.
Before Breckenridge Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe can support a 150-room luxury hotel with 50 wholly owned condos at the base of Peak 8, the project must be fully vetted by the community, she said.
On Monday, the development team pursuing the hotel project — which they’ve framed as Breckenridge’s best chance to “finish Peak 8 the right way” — offered the most detailed look at the proposal yet after kicking open the doors of the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center for an open house. One of at least three elected officials in attendance, Wolfe said this was exactly the kind of community forum she had been hoping for.
“They’ve done a really nice job,” she said during the event. “I really think they’ve responded very well to our requests, and I hope that the second time of talking about this project is going to go better than the first time.”
Leading the development team, Breckenridge Grand Vacations has been working with the Miami-based firm Lionheart Capital to build a branded, four-star hotel with 50 condominium units at the base of Peak 8, where a Vail Resorts administration building currently sits.
The biggest holdup has been a question of density, as the developers’ are seeking to shift density from the gondola parking lots in town, also owned by Vail Resorts, which runs Breckenridge Ski Resort, to the property on Peak 8.
Council has been reluctant to approve the developer’s request so far, expressing concerns about the social impacts of the project, including its effects on traffic and the local housing crisis, among others.
But the project still has a lot of life left in it, and as the developers get ready to take another run at securing council’s approval for the project, they’re highlighting “a bucket of community benefits,” while holding their proposal up against what another developer could do with the property, which they say could come without any of the perks but could produce an even greater impact.
Like many locals, Breckenridge resident Larry Patterson said he also worries about overcrowding and how the town will handle all of the recent growth with an already strained infrastructure.
Patterson moved from Colorado Springs to Breckenridge after retirement about six years ago, and he isn’t anti-development by any means. Still, he lives on Ski Hill Road, and while he expected the area to grow around him after moving here, he never thought it would be so much so fast.
“I know it’s going to happen,” he said of development, “but we need good planning and to continue to stay in the game to keep the community on the right side of this growth.”
And during Monday’s open house, Patterson was pleasantly surprised to learn some of his worries were for not. For example, he said he expected the hotel would be “totally vertical,” but was pleasantly surprised to see a “horizontal village concept,” calling it his “first aha moment” of the open house.
“This forum is very valuable,” Patterson said. “Of course, it’s ‘the spin’ as I call it, but it’s as it should be. You want to see the project in its best elements, and the way they’re going about it — with the open house — they’re very easy people to approach and I appreciate them doing this.”
Patterson is also glad knowing the project is in the hands of Breckenridge Grand Vacations, a company he said has a long history of honoring the community’s spirit, being great a community partners and doing right by the town.
“I’d much rather have a credible partner, and I’ve always considered Breckenridge Grand Vacations a very credible partner,” he said of the project that hits close to home. “They’ve always walked their talk and done the right thing. With that, I’m looking at this project as a possibility.”
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