Aspen Skiing Co.’s two new Limelight hotels

Construction is expected to begin this year on a Limelight Hotel at Snowmass Village. Rendering/East West Partners

Vail parties join Aspen Skiing to finish project Base Village at Snowmass

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. — A deal has been struck that will likely yield the long-delayed completion of Base Village, the major upgrade to Snowmass.

But while that’s big news in the Aspen community, what makes the deal more unusual is the coalition of businesses that have come together. In short, the Aspen Skiing Co. is teaming up with a bunch of players from Vail to get the hotel rooms it has coveted since the late 1990s.

The project got stopped by the Great Recession. The joint venture now organized to get Base Village across the finish line by 2018 consists of the Aspen Skiing Co., East West Partners, and KSL Capital Partners.

East West was organized in 1986 by Harry Frampton immediately after his term as chief executive of Vail Associates, the precursor of Vail Resorts. He oversaw Beaver Creek for four years after its opening in 1981 and then, as a real estate developer, built much of the bed base.

Taking his place at Vail was Mike Shannon, who then left after several years to go into the resort business. In 2005, he joined with Eric Resnick, also a former officer at Vail, to create KSL Capital Partners. Their website describes broad multi-national investments in resort properties, including Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in the Truckee-Tahoe area of California.

The key player in overseeing construction will be Andy Gunion, the chief financial officer for East West Partners. He tells reporters that construction will begin in spring on the 102-room Limelight Hotel at Snowmass, which will be purchased by the Aspen Skiing Co. after it’s completed. It will include 15 residences. Also to be built will be a sporting goods shop and 48 condominiums in two buildings, plus a public plaza and ice rink.

“Everything we’re building in the village has the potential to be hot beds,” Gunion said.

When everything is constructed, Snowmass Base Village will have more than 1,000 bedrooms, Gunion told The Aspen Times.

Altogether, this represents considerably more than the snout of the Vail camel under Aspen tent flap. The Aspen Daily News points out that Vail Resorts also controls 12 businesses in Aspen and Snowmass Village. This includes Aspen Sports, a business in downtown Aspen started in 1953, several years before Vail was even conceived.

This is how the Limelight was imagined when construction began last year. It is opening in stages.

And Aspen Skiing finishes first new hotel at base of Sun Valley in … ages

KETCHUM, Idaho — Fifteen years after Ketchum set out to refurbish and expand its bed base at the base of the Sun Valley Resort, one hotel is opening and another is under construction.

First out of the chutes is a Limelight hotel, the second in a chain of mid-priced properties planned by the Aspen Skiing Co. The company’s first was in Aspen itself, and it has a second planned in nearby Snowmass Village.

The 99-room, five-floor hotel in downtown Ketchum will also have 14 residences on the top two floors with the asking price on the largest, five-bedroom units approaching $4 million.

And the imagined view from a deck of the hotel’s top floor residences.

The first lodging was scheduled to be available on Dec. 30. However, Expedia offers the first bookings on Jan. 13 for $310 a room.

The hotel is getting certified as LEED silver under the U.S. Green Building Council’s criteria, the second of four levels, below gold and platinum.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that excavation for the Auberge Resort Sun Valley hotel began in downtown Ketchum, across the street from the Limelight, in the fall.

Meanwhile, commercial real estate prices rose significantly in 2016. Paul Kenny & Matt Bogue Commercial Real Estate found that rents for retail space in Ketchum increased 16 to 20 percent, comparable to increases in both of the two prior years. Offices for retail space grew 16 to 20 percent.



Allen Best