A new application for the Fanny Hill Cabins begins its review before the Snowmass Planning Commission as soon as today, after the board concludes its review and vote on a proposed amendment relating to the future of Base Village.
The meeting begins at 4 p.m. via the online app Go To Meeting. Should the Base Village amendment issue run long, the Fanny Hill Cabins application may be continued to the planning commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting on July 15.
The new application requests that the original project be converted from 10 townhomes to 10 three-and four-bedroom, ski-in/ski-out, single-family homes to be built on the Fanny Hill trail on Snowmass Ski Area, at a site located near the Crestwood Condominiums on Wood Road. The original approval came in 2004 as part of the Base Village PUD.
The application comes to the planning commission via its new owners, East West Partners, who own Base Village in partnership with a development entity owned by the Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners.
Cabins go modern
When the project was originally approved (and later updated), Fanny Hill Cabins were to be 10 townhomes built in five buildings on the side of the ski slope. In the new proposal, East West is asking for the units to be separated into 10 single-family homes.
Instead of traditional log cabins, the new proposal calls for a more modern aesthetic, designed by Lake Flato Architects from San Antonio, Texas. The new architecture is said to reflect the surrounding natural environment. It also complies with updated fire mitigation standards, according to the application.
And, instead of being grouped two to a building, the new proposal calls for spreading the 10 homesites across the slope and constructing them into the hillside. The new buildings will have the capability to include solar on site.
The original approval for the Fanny Hill Cabins had its construction tied to the construction of the major buildings in the core of Base Village, including the Limelight Hotel. When the new development entity purchased Base Village from Related Companies, the Fanny Hill Cabins project was included.
The new application has been submitted by Snowmass Ventures. Though they are not tied to the cabin’s former restrictions on the timing of construction, Snowmass Ventures has completed construction of the main core buildings in Base Village since purchasing the project four years ago, including the Limelight Hotel.
Andy Gunion, who is heading Snowmass Ventures as managing partner for East West Partners, was asked why they are moving ahead with Fanny Hill Cabins now, given the uncertainty in the world because of COVID-19.
“There are all kinds of uncertainty going on right now because of the coronavirus,” Gunion said. “But I think the long-term fundamentals of Snowmass are still attractive, and it’s why we continue to invest money in Snowmass. Also, there does seem to be a real strong interest right now in single-family (residences).”
Longtime Snowmass real estate agent Greg Rulon, who works with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, seems to agree, in part.
“The location is great, and the good news is that real estate has been flying off the shelf lately,” Rulon said. “But it’s hard to say what the demand and the market will be when those are built in a couple of years. There are many unknowns right now.”
The new Fanny Hill Cabins propose seven three-bedroom units, and three four-bedroom units, and the homes will be two and three stories in height, with the tallest building measuring 31 feet, utilizing updated grading. The units will range in size from 1,925 square feet to 3,266 square feet with the three-bedroom units averaging 2,115 square feet and the four-bedroom units averaging 2,941 square feet.
The Fanny Hill Cabins proposal calls for 14 parking stalls in the garage level, plus storage, equipment storage, a trash enclosure, a PRV room, electrical and fire control rooms, and a package storage and pick-up area. The caretaker’s unit has been placed at the garage level facing out towards Wood Road, and it has been expanded from 610 square feet to 840 square feet.
Snowmass Ventures is requesting a reduction in parking requirements and has provided an alternative-parking plan that commits to offering transportation options for residents, visitors and guests; it aims to reduce the need for parking on site. Among its alternative-parking plan strategies, the developer is proposing to provide options for an airport shuttle, car and bike share, as well as car storage for residents to accommodate year-round residents and visitors to the cabins.
One of the major amenities for the Fanny Hill Cabins and its prime attractiveness is that they would be built right on the side of the Fanny Hill ski slope and all are designed as ski-in/ski-out properties.
“We’re still working through the details, but we think the cabins will be tied to our new private fitness club in One Snowmass and the Fanny Hill project will have access to that fitness amenity,” Andy Guinon explained.
Additional amenities in the new application before the Snowmass Planning Commission include hot tubs, gathering spaces and snow-melted walkways.
No longer the cherry
When the Fanny Hill project was first proposed — and for many years following that original approval — the cabins were considered to be “the cherry on top of the cake,” a highly profitable project that town council was willing to approve for the developer only after keystone buildings in the core of Base Village were built.
When East West Partners purchased Base Village from the Related Companies, many in the community felt they were buying the project at a “fire sale, below-market price” because Related was a motivated seller. East West was able to go on and sell its finished units and real estate in Base Village at current market rates.
East West’s Gunion offered a different assessment of the realities of large resort developments in general and Base Village in particular.
“I would definitely say we did not pay below market,” Gunion noted. “It was a difficult negotiation. The economics of the project are very difficult to make these mountain resort villages work, and construction costs here locally continue to be quite high, even higher than we have experienced in other markets like Vail and Deer Valley.”
To access Snowmass Planning Commission meetings, go visit gotomeet.me/TOSV/pc. Dial in using your phone (571-317-3122, access code 356-954-045).