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Breckenridge Grand Vacations presents transit area redevelopment options

Company under contract to purchase parking lots from Vail Resorts

Option 2B for Breckenridge Grand Vacations' proposed redevelopment of the North Gondola Lot and Gold Rush land near the BreckConnect Gondola and Breckenridge Station.
Courtesy town of Breckenridge

BRECKENRIDGE — Mike Dudick, chief executive officer of Breckenridge Grand Vacations, led a presentation to the Breckenridge Town Council on Tuesday regarding options for redevelopment of the North Gondola and Gold Rush lots and land.

The redevelopment of these parcels — which Breckenridge Grand Vacations is under contract to purchase from Vail Resorts — would be part of a reconfiguration of the Breckenridge Station transit area on Watson Avenue that is a hub for recreationists in the downtown area using the BreckConnect Gondola to get to Breckenridge Ski Resort. The company’s plans would be part of a greater redevelopment of land at the gondola’s base.

On Tuesday, Dudick presented to council multiple ideas for the redevelopment.

The difference between the options, he said, is the direction of bus traffic, number of lanes of bus traffic and ingress and egress from proposed roundabouts. Breckenridge Grand Vacations and the town would need to come to an agreement specific to the company’s redevelopment plans for the North Gondola Lot and Gold Rush land.

“I’m here to work together with the town to figure out what’s best for the community,” Dudick said. “… Option 1 is going to have the multidirection movement of the buses. Option 2 is going to have the two (bus) islands with one direction of movement of buses. Option 3 is going to have one movement of buses and one lane of bus traffic.”

Breckenridge Grand Vacation’s Tuesday presentation to Town Council followed three meetings with town staff as well as design staff from Felsburg Holt & Ullevig and DTJ Design.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s meeting, Town Council and Breckenridge Grand Vacations had zeroed in on Option 2B, which includes 12 bus stalls, two more than the current Breckenridge Station horseshoe.

In all the options, the existing Breckenridge Station building would be removed and replaced by smaller structures that would provide a covered waiting area without the large indoor spaces that town engineer Shannon Smith and Public Works Director James Phelps wrote “are currently problematic.” Smith and Phelps added that restrooms and skier services displaced by the plan would “be fulfilled elsewhere in the development.”

In their memo to Town Council, Smith and Phelps wrote that the pros of Option 2B included buses traveling in one direction; a reduction in vehicular-bus conflict points with the elimination of the two wide driveways on Watson Avenue that currently exist for the horseshoe configuration; the maintaining of a short distance between buses for transfers; the ability to logically group buses to islands based on where they’re bound; the maintaining of a strong pedestrian connection to Main Street via Watson Avenue and the Blue River pedestrian corridor; and maintaining close proximity to downtown, the Blue River Recreation Trail, the South Gondola Lot parking structure and the BreckConnect Gondola.

Smith and Phelps identified the cons as requiring the construction of a French Street roundabout, pedestrians crossing bus travel lanes while buses only travel in one direction, the requirement of curb cuts on Watson and Park Avenues, and encumbering much of the North Gondola Lot parcel.

All the options include a Vail Resorts requirement that Breckenridge Grand Vacation replace 600 parking spaces in the North Gondola Lot and 350 in the Gold Rush Lot.

Whatever option the board selects, Dudick said the company intends to build multiple pedestrian bridges, one from the Gold Rush parcel over Park Avenue to the North Gondola Lot parcel and two over the Blue River Recreation Path to the Main Street area. The developments also would include workforce housing, a public park in the parcel of wetlands south of the Gold Rush Lot and mixed-use buildings on the North Gondola site.

“Our vision with this — especially in light of COVID — one of the major trends in hospitality is to have thematic components,” Dudick said. “So we would look to make this a wellness village: mind, body and community focused.”

Breckenridge Town Manager Rick Holman said town staff liked Option 2B because it allows buses that are driving north on Park Avenue to come off a proposed roundabout at Watson Avenue and into bus islands, aiding vehicle traffic. Dudick said approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation would be needed, though he said the plan would be “very likely” to be approved.

Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula cautioned the group that any final decisions on developing the parcel could be a long time away due to the pandemic.

“There is a pretty strong assumption that (Dudick) will end up owning this land, but nobody in this town knows what is going to happen in November of this year right now,” Mamula said. “So to make any decisions on anything based on what little we know about the economy of our community into this winter, I got to tell you, I think is a little premature.”


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