Breckenridge puts $3M toward parking garage planning |

Breckenridge puts $3M toward parking garage planning

The South Gondola Lot is full on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Breckenridge. Vail Resorts, which owns the parking lot and Breckenridge Ski Resort, has agreed to a proposed lease with town leaders that would allow the town to build a parking garage on the property.
Hugh Carey /

Breckenridge is moving fast to boost parking with elected leaders finalizing a 50-year ground lease allowing the town to build a large parking structure on resort-owned land in the downtown area.

Breckenridge Town Council unanimously approved the lease with Vail Resorts, owner of Breckenridge Ski Resort, on second reading Tuesday. As required by the lease, the town then put $3 million in the 2019 budget to cover anticipated expenses during the planning phase.

Per the agreement, Vail Resorts will lease South Gondola Lot to the town for 50 years with options to renew the lease for two additional 10-year terms. The town will have to build a large parking garage on the property, as well as pave and stripe the remaining portions of the lot not covered by the structure.

Overall, the agreement mandates the project produce at least 400 new parking spaces on the lot while detailing how the two parties will manage their individual responsibilities and how they will share control of the structure and the lot’s parking revenues.

The lease took over five months to negotiate and comes only after years of officials from both Breckenridge and Vail Resorts trying to secure a parking garage in a town known for parking problems, especially at peak times.

The document provides a timeline for the project, though there is some wiggle room to get the Colorado Department of Transportation’s approval. Because the road leading into the South Gondola Lot, South Park Avenue, is a state-controlled highway, CDOT will have to sign off on the plans. Still, town manager Rick Holman expects the town to complete the project by Nov. 1, 2021.

With the town already diving into the planning stages, Breckenridge resident Carol Rockne applauded town council for reaching an agreement with Vail Resorts that many people thought impossible last spring, including Rockne.

“Congratulations, I don’t know how you did it,” she said as council approved the proposed ground lease on second reading.

However, Rockne also wanted to know if the public would be allowed any input during the planning stage. Mayor Eric Mamula told her in response that there would be “public engagement” and opportunities for comment, but the town won’t put the designs to a community vote.

“Since it’s going to a lease and we’re spending all this money, I just don’t want it to be a ‘Garage-mahal,’” Rockne said.

As Mamula promised the public would have a chance to comment, Holman said initial designs could come before council as early as its next meeting.

In other business, town council:

• Passed an ordinance on second reading annexing the Kenington Townhomes into the town. Like all other votes Tuesday night, it was unanimous.

• Approved an ordinance on first reading allowing the town to enter a franchise agreement with ALLO Communications to offer cable TV services in Breckenridge. The agreement mirrors an existing franchise agreement with Comcast.

• Agreed on first reading to update the development agreement for plans to construct a luxury hotel and condos at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge. The developer requested the changes after Breckenridge Grand Vacations sold its interest in the project to its former project partner, Lionheart Capital.

In one renegotiated piece of the development agreement, the developer will now be on the hook for 24 bedrooms of workforce housing in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units at an average size of 150 square feet per bedroom. All 24 bedrooms must be deed-restricted, and they must be finished before the hotel is issued a certificate of occupancy.

• Passed a resolution that paves the way for an intergovernmental agreement for land exchange with the Summit School District, in which the town would give up two Blue 52 townhomes and 10 acres on the McCain Subdivision in exchange for 8.7 acres of vacant land on Block 11. The land that’s expected to go to the school district could only be used for district purposes.

• Entered a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Forest Service regarding wildfire planning and preparedness to protect Breckenridge’s drinking water and infrastructure for Indiana Gulch.

• Discussed the town’s recent regulations designed to better control short-term rentals. The discussion suggested council might be ready to install some more stringent measures on the units.

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