Dillon approves condo and restaurant project proposed by Adriano’s Bistro owners
April 6, 2018
Lake Dillon Drive could soon be getting a makeover thanks to a pair of ambitious projects being developed by longtime locals and business owners.
The Ottoborgo family, which has owned and operated Italian restaurant Adriano's Bistro for years, won final approval from the Dillon Town Council Tuesday night for Uptown 240, an 80-unit condominium complex with room for a 6,000 square-foot restaurant on the ground floor.
On the adjacent lot, Danny Eilts and his group of partners hope to soon build a hotel, conference center and rooftop restaurant dubbed Crossroads at Lake Dillon. The town approved that project earlier this year, but Eilts and company are taking it back to the drawing board to refine its final size.
Construction on Uptown 240, however, could begin as soon as this summer, although the Ottoborgos are realistic about the pace of building in Summit County. Their project has been in the works since 2007, although it was put on hold for several years after the recession hit.
"It was extremely satisfying to get the green light," Danilo Ottoborgo said, reached by phone Friday. "It was also really nice to hear all of the positive comments we've received and letters of support we have for the project."
The design has evolved significantly over the years in response to input from town officials and community members, Ottoborgo said. The project was initially conceived with a mountain lodge aesthetic featuring exposed beams and heavy timber, but it has since taken on a more modern look.
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Uptown 240 was once packaged together with Eilts' project as a single, larger development, but both parties eventually agreed it would be easier to pursue them separately. Together, they aim to inject some added vitality to Dillon's core area, which hasn't seen new construction in decades.
"We're trying to grow the entrance of Dillon into a more enticing and appealing beginning part of town," Ottoborgo explained.
A previous iteration of the plan called for 65 units and additional retail space, but the final version settled on 80 condominium units, a larger restaurant space and an outdoor deck.
Ottoborgo said the family is close to a deal with a restaurant operator, but declined to name names before an arrangement is final.
"If for any reason that doesn't work out, we can always re-open the restaurant and run it as Adriano's 2.0, so to speak," he said.
Leaving the restaurant behind will be a big change for the family, but Ottoborgo said Uptown 240 presents them with a new opportunity to run a business together.
"It will be bittersweet," he said. "We've all been running the restaurant together, my entire family works here, and there's a part of me that's really going to miss that — being able to see everybody all of the time … but the family is still very involved with the project, so I will still be able to work with them every day."
The town council was pleased with the design but expressed some disappointment that the project won't include more workforce housing. The plan reserves nine units for residents who work at least 30 hour per week in Summit County, although they will not be deed-restricted.
At a public hearing on the project Tuesday evening, council asked town staff to explore ways that Dillon could use some of its 5A workforce housing dollars to help lower construction costs on the project in exchange for more workforce housing units.
Ten letters were sent to the town regarding the project, with nine in favor and one opposed. Several residents also spoke in favor of the project at the public hearing, praising the Ottoborgos for their years of work on the plan.
"The town has been extremely helpful with guidance and recommendations, and so has the community," Ottoborgo said. "I think taking all of that into consideration has really been a driving force behind the positive changes we've made."
Council unanimously approved the project, clearing the way for what could be the biggest project in downtown Dillon in decades. The Ottoborgos exchange high-fives after the vote, celebrating a key step in a development roughly 17 years in the making.
"This project has really sharpened up in the past year-and-a-half or so, and I think it's going to be a great amenity for the town," Mayor Kevin Burns said. "According to my rough count, some version of this has now been before about 20 different town council members."