Breckenridge hotel deal re-emerges in second possible development agreement
Town Council is expected to take up the proposal Tuesday
June 24, 2018
A development agreement for a 150-key, luxury hotel with 50 condominiums at the base of Peak 8 is back on the town council agenda with almost two-dozen community letters in support of the project.
The developers are seeking an agreement with the town that will allow them to proceed with plans to build a four-star, branded hotel and 110,000 square feet of wholly owned condos where a Vail Resorts administration building currently sits. Breckenridge Town Council is expected to take up the proposal Tuesday.
The holdup is a transfer of density. The land comes with enough density rights — a measure of allowable square footage — to build the hotel, but the developers need the additional space to accommodate the condos, which they say make the project financially viable.
Citing fears over potential social impacts of the project, town council rejected a similar proposal in February. Soon after, leaders of the development team, formed in a partnership between Breckenridge Grand Vacations and the Miami-based firm Lionheart Capital, said misunderstandings and miscommunication played major roles in the proposal failing the first go-round and detailed their intent to resubmit this summer.
They've also adjusted the proposed agreement so that instead of having the additional density come from backcountry land, the density would be stripped off the Vail Resorts-owned Gondola parking lots downtown and shifted up to the base of Peak 8.
Along with a number of other legislative items, the proposed development agreement is on the agenda for council's work session. After that, council is scheduled to vote on the proposal during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. According to the agenda packet, council could approve the agreement, deny it or refer it back to the planning commission, which the developers say is not really an option considering they've already gone back to the commissioners once and received a positive review.
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"My hope is to have a 7-0 affirmative vote and a lot of community support behind this because I think we're doing the right thing for the community, and I think there's a lot of people who understand the scope and nature of the project and support what we're doing," said Mike Dudick, BGV's owner and CEO, of his desired outcome.
The support he's talking about is detailed throughout 20 letters from BGV employees, local business owners and Breckenridge residents, some of whom have lived here for 20 years or more, all in support of the project. The real estate community is also well represented with high-ranking officials at Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties, Land Title Guarantee Company of Summit County and LIV Sotherby's International Realty lobbying for the project.
Many of the letter-writers, like Jeff Moore, vice president of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, reference BGV's "very solid track record over the years" and charitable contributions in the community. At the same time, most of the authors also contend a slopeside, luxury hotel is exactly what Breckenridge needs to attract a more affluent clientele.
"Without this type of hotel, we are worried that Breckenridge will not be considered a leading mountain town when compared to other Colorado options," wrote Breckenridge homeowners Mike and Yun Hui Kehoe.
Other letters laud the community benefits promised in the proposed development agreement, including a $125,000 gift for the preservation of Cucumber Gulch. Another benefit would be the creation of a new environmental impact fund dedicated to protecting Cucumber Gulch. It would be fed by a $2 fee charged per night at the hotel for 10 years after it opens.
The agreement also details putting employee-housing restrictions on 20,000 square feet of existing residential units, and Dudick explained on Sunday that BGV has six condos at Beaver Run the company's using to house timeshare guests but is considering turning them into workforce housing.
"We are hyper-focused on understanding workforce-housing issues and being the standard bearer of employers in this community for how we should solve these issues," he said. "No one should doubt BGV and our mission (with workforce housing)."
The developers also propose giving approximately 1,500 square feet at the base of Peak 8 to the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, in addition to limiting the height of the hotel project to the elevation of One Skill Hill Place, abandoning Saw Mill Run Road and enlisting the Breckenridge Mountain Master Association's shuttle service to offset any traffic on Ski Hill Road above anticipated traffic counts.
For David Nicoli, a Breckenridge homeowner, it's a "very attractive and reasonable proposal that will benefit our wonderful community." In his letter Nicoli wrote he likes Vail Resorts agreeing to shift density from the Gondola parking lots so there's no net increase in the amount of density alloted in town, and the workforce-housing components of the project are a big plus.
With the local company working as the developer, Nicoli believes that BGV "will have to live with the results" while expressing his fear over what could happen if another group were to develop the parcel, a reference to what developers have described as "worst-case scenario," in which someone builds a hotel with up to 300 rooms, only smaller ones, but none of the community benefits.
Another Breckenridge resident, Shawn Yancey, echoed many of the same sentiments but added: "As designed and presented, I believe the proposed BGV/Lionheart development fills this void in the town while providing more community benefits than any approved project in recent history … I know that development in our wonderful community can sometimes be controversial and contentious. But I don't think that needs to be the case here. BGV has listened to our community and has put forth a thoughtful and generous proposal that will make Breckenridge an even greater place to live and visit than it already is."
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