A joint venture of East West Partners, Aspen Skiing Co., and an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners, LLC has closed on the acquisition of the Snowmass base village project from Snowmass Acquisition Co., an affiliate of the Related Cos..
The purchase includes all remaining development parcels and commercial spaces in base village, the Snowmass Hospitality property management company and the Viceroy Hotel, including the unsold condominium units within the Viceroy.
The joint venture, comprised entirely of Colorado-based companies, said it will move swiftly to commence construction on the partially complete base village core in spring 2017, with East West responsible for all day-to-day operations. The joint venture has actually been advancing predevelopment work on the entire core of the project since the deal was announced in September, including preconstruction on the Limelight Hotel and public plaza/ice rink and advancement of design on the community building and on the two front door buildings currently known as Buildings 7 and 8.
The joint venture’s plan is to begin construction on the Limelight Hotel this spring, with construction of the community building, the public plaza/ice rink and Building 4 commencing over the summer. Construction of Buildings 7 and 8 is projected to start in the latter part of 2017.
“After over a year of hard work by all parties involved, we are thrilled to have closed on this acquisition. East West has been pursuing this project for many years so it is extremely exciting for this opportunity to finally come to fruition with the help of our partners at Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital,” said Craig Ferraro, East West managing partner. “We believe the completion of base village will be a great addition to Snowmass, and we could not imagine a better group of dedicated and experienced partners to join forces with to make this happen.”
ASC will purchase from the joint venture and operate the Limelight Hotel and a Four Mountain Sports retail space from the joint venture once those components of the project are finished. ASC will operate both properties after it buys them from the joint venture. This will be the third Limelight hotel for ASC, with the new Limelight in Ketchum, Idaho, scheduled to open shortly. The upscale casual concept has proven successful in Aspen.
“This is an exciting day for Aspen Skiing Co. and the entire Snowmass community and we are happy to be moving forward,” said Mike Kaplan, president and CEO, Aspen Skiing Co.. “We have remained committed to Snowmass as one of the best ski areas in the world and we are thrilled to be working with East West and KSL to complete the base village and bring our guests a world-class experience on and off the mountain.”
Andy Gunion of East West will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the joint venture. Gunion has been with East West for more than 12 years and has led the acquisition work on base village. He has a broad range of relevant experience, from project management of East West’s Westin resort in Avon to his most recent role as chief financial officer for the company. Gunion and his wife are relocating to the Roaring Fork Valley.
“This closing is the culmination of many months of extremely hard work by our joint venture and by Related. With the acquisition behind us, we can now turn our full attention to execution of the development plan,“ said Gunion.
“This is a complex and important project, so we are relocating and combining some of East West’s most experienced professionals from across the country with the excellent existing team at Snowmass Hospitality. We look forward to working with the town and others in the community to continue our Snowmass education and to bring the full vision of base village to reality. With a new, vibrant hotel, activated plaza, ice rink, Discovery Center, this next phase of development should prove to be an exciting, transformative period for Snowmass.”
Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler said there is renewed excitement around the base village project being handled by the local, Colorado-based team.
“With East West Partner’s track record in the ski industry and the commitment by KSL Partners and Aspen Skiing Co. behind it all, we could not have envisioned a better, more experienced partnership to move this forward and get base village finally finished,” Butler said.