SkiCo Purchases Base Village
After a decade of delays and plethora of problems, Snowmass Base Village is now under new ownership and on track for a speedy completion. Aspen SkiCo, along with Colorado-based East West Partners and KSL Capital Partners, purchased Base Village on December 22, 2016 for $56.5 million. The recorded price includes commercial spaces in Base Village and undeveloped land with approvals for hotels and condos. The transaction also included the Snowmass Hospitality property management company and Viceroy Hotel operations, including its unsold condo units. Base Village previously sold for $89 million in 2012 and $169 million in 2007. Groundbreaking originally started in 2005, then the recession hit and the venture sat on hold as a partially-completed eyesore.
The project couldn’t be in better hands under the joint venture, and neither party is new to the scene. Both East West and KSL have had their eyes on Base Village for some time, and hoped to purchase it in 2012 when they were outbid by Related who reacquired the property after bankruptcy. East West will oversee construction and day-to-day operations. The group has developed over 60 projects comprising over $3 billion in real estate, including projects in Beaver Creek, Avon, and most recently Union Station in Denver. They are also a three time recipient of Urban Land Institute’s Award of Excellence. KSL Capital Partners is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises, and has raised over $7 billion in equity capital since 2005. As the resort’s operator, SkiCo obviously has a tremendous vested interest and was the original co-developer, but sold the property in 2007. After a ten-year hiatus, they’re back in the game and clearly committed to this essential project.
Phase I will commence this spring with groundbreaking on Limelight Snowmass, which will include 102 rooms and 15 residences. SkiCo will operate the hotel upon completion, which is scheduled for late-2018 in time for the 2018-2019 ski season. Phase II will include a public plaza, ice rink, and Four Mountain Sports. It will also transform the faux front structures along Wood Road into 48 condos, the construction of which will resume later this year. Outside the Village core will be another 5 buildings. Altogether, Base Village will include roughly 600 residences and hotel units with over 1,000 bedrooms.
Snowmass is the largest and most popular of the four resorts owned by SkiCo. It receives the most skier visits, and more accommodations are needed to keep and attract year-round visitors. Residents and business owners are confident, delighted, and hopeful. Along with morale, the Snowmass real estate market is also thriving. Sales in 2016 reached an 8-year high, the largest dollar volume since the recession. And in the last month alone, a burst of new businesses have opened their doors, including Slow Groovin’ BBQ and Quiksilver on the mall, Ajax Supply in Snowmass Center, Sake in Base Village, and Gwyn’s High Alpine mountainside restaurant, which recently received a $6 million renovation. Momentum is certainly building, and this vibrant community is taking on a whole new persona – one that will benefit residents, businesses, investors, and tourists. Snowmass has only begun to see its true potential and is poised for a bright and exciting future.