Peak 8 hotel developer takes aim at visitors seeking lavish stay in Breckenridge
BRECKENRIDGE — Developers are hopeful the proposed hotel and condominium project on Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8 will help to draw a more diverse crowd to the mountain, attracting individuals seeking a higher-end experience.
In April, Vail Resorts announced the sale of 4.1 acres of Peak 8 real estate to Lionheart Capital, a Miami-based investment and development firm with plans to construct a 150-room luxury hotel on top of 35 residential condos. Lionheart historically has invested in coastal properties — with hotels in Florida, New York and Saint Barthélemy — but the group feels the time is right to break into mountain real estate.
“I’ve been going to Colorado for the last 40 years,” said Ricardo Dunin, one of Lionheart Capital’s founding partners. “So I like the mountains, and I’m an avid skier. I was always intrigued and interested in doing something on the mountain. But we also believe the timing is good. People are more focused now than in times in the past on getting to the mountains, even during the summertime.”
The unnamed development, adjacent to One Ski Hill Place, will serve as a ski-in, ski-out site managed by Vail Resort’s hospitality division and will feature a spa and fitness center, restaurant, bar and lounge, meeting space and parking among other amenities.
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Dunin said he hopes the new development will make a positive impact on the surrounding community, noting a number of public benefits negotiated with the Breckenridge Town Council before the passage of the development agreement last July, including a $125,000 gift and ongoing funding to the town’s Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve, at least 24 new employee housing units in the Upper Blue River Basin and a permanent space for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.
Developers also are interested in attracting new clientele to the resort, particularly those looking for a more opulent stay.
“I think Breckenridge, together with Vail, are two of the top destinations for a number of skiers in the Americas,” Dunin said. “Because Breck was developed earlier, it’s really more of a historical town and never really focused on that upper scale. I believe that there is a group of people that crave those more luxurious accommodations, and even some people that don’t go to Breckenridge because they’re more accustomed to upscale accommodations.
“So it feels like a natural progression for a town like Breckenridge to also offer a four-star accommodation. And it’s not that many rooms. If you have 1 or 2 million skiers a year, I’m confident we will have a few hundred who’d want to stay on Peak 8. In my opinion, the time is right. If anything it’s overdue, and I think it will be a really good addition to the town.”
Still, it might be awhile before the complex begins to take shape. While a development agreement was approved in summer 2018, Lionheart is expected to return to the Breckenridge Planning Commission in September in hopes of receiving final design approval.
Dunin said Lionheart is working to address some concerns from community members, including looking at a more rustic mountain design after receiving feedback the initial architecture was too modern. Lionheart also is hoping to jump back into another round of public input before heading to the planning commission.
“We’re planning to have an open house about a week before for people to come and see our plans and get comments,” Dunin said. “We like to keep touch with the community and listen to what they have to say. … There were concerns, and we’re trying to address all of those.”
Assuming final design plans will be approved later this year, Dunin said Lionheart is trying to begin construction during a window in late summer 2020. Construction is tentatively expected to take about 28 months to complete.
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