Lodging companies rail against Breckenridge hotel proposals
August 10, 2011
BRECKENRIDGE – As hopeful developers presented the Breckenridge Town Council with proposals for a luxury or big-name hotel on the F/Tiger Dredge Lot site, leaders in the local lodging community shook their heads at council members. Three developers are vying for a chance to construct a new hotel, likely worth approximately $70 million, in downtown Breckenridge near the Riverwalk Center, but business owners in town worry a new player might poach business from the town’s existing lodging companies. “There is a concern within the industry in Breckenridge that sufficient lodging demand may not exist to adequately sustain the amount of proposed lodging townwide, which would include the new proposed hotel on F-Lot,” Resort Managers president Toby Babich stated in an email. “When looking at the recent, under construction and proposed developments in Breckenridge, along with minimal lodging growth after the decline of 2008; one can’t ignore the possible negative impact hundreds of additional rental units may have on existing lodging properties.” Each of the developers propose different “luxury,” or “first-class” hotel and conference centers for the site, which include new parking for guests and replacements for the lots current spaces with underground parking structures. The proposals range from 125-243-key facilities, two of which would likely boast major name-brands like the Mariott Residence Inn. The developers say a new town-center hotel would fulfill a need in the community, revamping the town’s lodging selection with new, high-end rooms that will improve both the guests’ experience and Breckenridge’s accommodations reputation. One local contender pointed to recent travel magazine resort rankings, which either glossed over Breckenridge’s lodging selection in recognizing the town or placed it behind all the neighboring competition, including Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek and Steamboat Springs. “We have inconsistent standards and inconsistent results,” owner of Wolfe & Co and hopeful developer Jack Wolfe said of Breck’s existing lodging inventory. “We’ve developed an older condo and rental reputation.” But lodging company owners worry, with a new hotel at F-Lot, plans for accommodations developments at the gondola lots and other projects on the horizon, Breckenridge might be positioned to flood its lodging market in the next five to 10 years. “Fundamentally, the question is, will the proposed units bring new visitors to town or simply cannibalize the existing business?” Babich stated. “I don’t believe we have enough information to make a final determination, but the feeling is that the town has enough current and proposed rental units already that struggle to sustain business levels.”Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center spokesman Bruce Horii said he thinks there is a good chance a branded or luxury hotel might draw new customers to Breckenridge, benefiting surrounding lodging companies and other businesses.”A branded hotel does bring more opportunities and notoriety to your area,” Horii said. “I don’t think that hurts.” Council members have offered little reaction to the hotel proposals or the idea of a lodging facility at the F-Lot, but might discuss the issue at the Aug. 23 meeting.