Breckenridge Grand Vacations sells its interest in Peak 8 hotel project
Vail Resorts has sold just over 4 acres to Lionheart Capital, a Miami-based firm that intends to build a branded hotel and over 100,000 square feet of wholly-owned condos on the valuable piece of property at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8.
The local hands from Breckenridge Grand Vacations — a purveyor of timeshares that helped guide talks — are absent from the project off of Ski Hill Road, however, since what was once a two-company development team negotiated a difficult agreement with Breckenridge Town Council in July after elected officials rejected the project in February 2018.
“We’re pleased to be selling the East Peak 8 site to a prominent global developer with extensive experience in luxury hospitality and branded residences, and are looking forward to seeing Lionheart’s vision for the parcel come to life,” said James O’Donnell, Vail Resorts’ executive vice president of hospitality, retail and real estate, in an April news release. “The development will be a true asset to locals and guests from around the world.”
Adjacent to One Ski Hill Place, the developer is proposing a ski-in, ski-out, full-service branded hotel with about 150 rooms that would be managed by a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, which owns Breckenridge Ski Resort.
In addition to the branded hotel, the scope of the project now includes approximately 35 residential condos along with a spa and fitness center; restaurant, bar and lounge; meeting space; and parking.
Over the phone, BGV co-owner and CEO Mike Dudick expressed pride in his company’s involvement in the Peak 8 project, as he confirmed BGV sold its interest in the development to Lionheart Capital about three weeks ago.
“We’re moving forward; it’s just not on this hotel site,” Dudick said.
He described the sale of BGV’s interest in the project as “a mutually beneficial business transaction.” He declined to provide financial details but said that BGV is already pursuing “new opportunities” in town.
After leaving his seat on Breckenridge Town Council last spring, Dudick became the face of the Peak 8 project, which was being pursued at the time through a partnership between his company and Lionheart on land belonging to Vail Resorts.
The negotiations hinged largely on developers seeking to move a historic amount of building density — stripped from a resort-owned parking lot in downtown Breckenridge — up to the base of Peak 8, on land that previously housed a Breckenridge Ski Resort administration building.
Council members repeatedly expressed comfort with BGV’s involvement in the project, but they were reluctant to approve the development agreement until the development team put together a package featuring a long list of public benefits and gained support for the project in the community.
The benefits included a one-time gift and continual funding for the Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve, in addition to new workforce housing and a nice boost for Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, a local nonprofit that offers to people with disabilities and special needs the chance to participate in outdoor activities like skiing.
Without BGV’s help brokering the agreement, it’s hard to believe elected officials would have approved it. Meanwhile, Dudick believes that BGV helped produce “a better project” with a host of the community benefits “codified, memorialized and protected” in the agreement.
“I feel great about it in the sense of what’s going to end up at the base of Peak 8,” Dudick said, adding that a similar basket of benefits has never before been offered by any other developer in town.
He applauded the more than 20,000 square feet of net new workforce housing that’s coming with the project, which Dudick noted was far greater than the 3,500 square feet that’s required to get 10 positive points for the project through the town’s planning process.
Dudick also said the new space on Peak 8 for BOEC — 1,500 square feet of locker room and storage facilities — also likely wouldn’t have happened, nor the money for Cucumber Gulch, without BGV’s local understanding and hand in the negotiations.
With that and more explicitly written into the development agreement, Dudick said, “the developer knows the ground rules to satisfy the community.”
In Vail Resorts’ news release, Ricardo Dunin, a founding partner of Lionheart Capital, said that the Miami-based company plans to continue communications with the town.
“Following Lionheart’s tradition of embracing the communities where we do business, we intend to keep working with the town to bring a very special project to Breckenridge,” he said. “Having developed properties such as Le Sereno Hotel in St. Barths and two Ritz-Carlton projects in South Florida, we are thrilled to be adding a mountain resort to our portfolio.”
As for BGV, Dudick said the company is actively pursuing new opportunities in Breckenridge. He wouldn’t say exactly what they might be or where those opportunities could take BGV, but when prodded for a hint, Dudick suggested it could be another large parcel owned by Vail Resorts.
“We have bought and closed on land owned by Vail Resorts three times, and it’s our hope we can do it again in the future,” he said.
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