Skiway is a go
BRECKENRIDGE – Vail Resorts announced Friday that it will begin the much-anticipated Skiway project this spring.The Skyway Skiway will allow skiers and snowboarders to take a ski run from Breckenridge’s Peak 8 to day-skier parking lots, eliminating the need to stand in line at the base area to catch the bus at day’s end.The project will be launched two years ahead of schedule. Its early start is made possible by brisk presales of the next phase of Mountain Thunder Lodge, a townhome project on Park Avenue.The company secured property easements required to build the ski run from the base of Peak 8 to the Sawmill parking lot in town. A bridge over Ski Hill Road and a tunnel under Park Avenue will take skiers to the parking lot.The Skiway project is expected to cost $4 million to $5 million and open for the 2006-2007 ski season.
Vail Resorts Development Company – the real estate arm of the ski company – started selling Mountain Thunder Lodge units two weeks ago. High demand for the luxury units, which are priced from $540,000 to $895,000, prompted the company to offer 16 units initially and contemplate another 18 in the near future.Presales of Vail Resorts’ Breckenridge real estate projects were much anticipated by Breckenridge elected officials and residents, who were told by company chairman and chief executive officer Adam Aron that sales would drive important community projects such as the Skiway. Mountain Thunder Lodge units are selling faster than anticipated, said Alex Iskenderian, vice president of development for Vail Resorts Development Company. “The mountain real estate market has turned a corner,” Iskenderian said. “(Presales) show there’s a demand for new, high-end products in Breckenridge.”Vail Resorts realized similar presales success with a larger project at Lionshead in Vail, where the company is redeveloping its base village.But Iskenderian could not say if the uptick in the market would propel other projects on Breckenridge’s horizon, such as a gondola planned to lift skiers from town to the ski area bases.
Real estate sales at the company’s planned Peak 7 base area development in Breckenridge are expected to pay for a portion of the gondola project.”Right now, we’re just focusing on Mountain Thunder Lodge and the Skiway,” Iskenderian said. “We’re excited about the fact we’re staring the Skiway two years early. What that means for other properties, I can’t comment on that right now.”Mountain Thunder Lodge is located along the planned Skiway route, so property owners will have ski-in access. New units will be part of the existing condominiums located on Park Avenue. Neighborhood amenities include a pool, fitness facilities and meeting rooms.Construction on the townhomes will start this summer, and completion is set for fall 2006.While Vail Resorts will pay for the Skiway, it intends to partner with the town on financing future community projects such as the gondola.
“We’re building the Skiway and not asking the town for money now,” Iskenderian said. “But we’re not relieving the town of its commitment on the overall numbers.”The two entities signed an agreement in 2002 that required construction on the Skiway to begin by 2007.Breckenridge officials are hoping the real estate success at Mountain Thunder Lodge will propel the gondola project forward.”(We) are hopeful that this success will encourage ski area officials to move forward with the anticipated gondola at an accelerated pace,” said Mayor Ernie Blake in a prepared statement.Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at email@example.com.
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