Dillon Crossroads hotel proposal gets trimmed down to size, billed as a ‘crown jewel’ for town
November 28, 2017
The Dillon Town Council rejected a proposal for a large hotel earlier this year over height and parking concerns, but now the developer has cut his design down to size and hopes his re-envisioned "crown jewel" development at the entrance of town will soon become a reality.
The original six-story Crossroads at Lake Dillon Hotel would have been a towering 90 feet tall, with commanding hilltop views of Lake Dillon and the surrounding mountain ranges. The new pitch, although only one story shorter, has shaved 32 feet of the total building to bring it in line with town code.
During a public meeting in Dillon Tuesday night, several residents said they were still concerned over the building's size. But the proposal drew plenty of compliments from local business owners and homeowners who were wary of the town missing another opportunity for much-needed development downtown.
"We pushed and squeezed and pinched everywhere we could," said developer Danny Eilts, whose family has owned the Conoco gas station project site for more than 40 years. "Nothing's done until it's done, but we've got a really, really good plan now."
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The proposed 103-unit hotel would include a conference center, recreation deck and indoor pool. It would also boast a rooftop restaurant and patio lounge at its pinnacle, which Eilts said would be open to the public year-round.
"That local business is going to be a main focus for us, because up here you've got to have that year-round, local support," he said.
Eilts hopes that the new development would raise the profile of Dillon's downtown core area, which is tucked away off of Highway 9 and has seen limited development over the past two decades.
The project would coincide with a major overhaul of the Dillon Amphitheater, slated for completion by next July. Town officials hope the revamped venue will draw bigger acts and jumpstart the downtown economy.
"My goal is to clean up that main entrance to Dillon, where my existing business is, because everything's getting pretty aged up there," he said. "I think it would be a great asset for the town and community and would help attract people off of the highway and get them into Dillon."
The Dillon council rejected Eilts' original proposal in March, citing lack of parking spaces and a height that was more than double the limit imposed by zoning rules. The new plan addresses both the parking and height concerns, although it will still need to be re-zoned to allow the 58-foot structure.
"It think Danny and his team have worked hard and listened to the feedback from town council to get a project that seems much more in line with the town's development goals," Dillon spokeswoman Kerstin Anderson said.
To shrink the building's size, Eilts' team changed the originally-planned 23 condominium units into hotel rooms, easing the number of required parking spaces. Part of the planned parking structure was also moved underground, and the heights of each level of it were lowered.
"The views probably won't be as great as they would have been, but they'll still be some of the best around," Eilts said.
If the project is approved, Eilts will jointly own the hotel with Denver-based Frew Development Group and Kinseth Hospitality, an Iowa company. Pending formal approval, the hotel will be branded as a Hilton Garden Inn.
"I think it's a great combination," Anderson said. "Danny is a member of the community who wants the town to be successful. That's paired with outside developers who have the expertise and the contacts to ensure the success of the project."
Crossroads will still need to be approved by the Dillon Planning and Zoning Commission during a public hearing on Dec. 6. If the commission approves the project, the zoning modification would need to be signed off on by the town council at a Jan. 16, 2018, meeting.
On Tuesday evening, town staff and the developers hosted a public meeting to get feedback on the project with more than a dozen locals in attendance. The conversation split down the usual lines of preserving Dillon's small town charm versus encouraging growth in a part of town that hasn't seen a new building in two decades.
"I wish it was smaller," one attendant said. "It just seems out of character for our community."
Business leaders in particular, however, pushed back. They argued that Dillon's core was becoming increasingly blighted and lacked basic amenities that other local towns enjoyed.
"I'd like to take every one here to a nice coffee shop right now," local business owner Eddie O'Brien told the group gathered at Dillon Town Hall, across from the proposed hotel site. "Where are we going to go? City Market?"
If the project gets the green light, Eilts said he and his partners hope to have shovels in the ground by next May.
"We've got a great partnership with some top-notch operators, which was a big priority for me," he said. "We're pushing hard and hope we'll be able to open as soon as possible."
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