Avon land sale linked to Seasons building
How this works
The valley’s towns have different rules for selling land. Here’s a look:
• Avon and Eagle: Voters must approve all sales of town-owned property.
• Vail: Voters must approve sales of open space land. Other property can be sold at the town council’s discretion.
• Gypsum: Sale or trade of public land is at the discretion of the town council. Cash from public land sales can only be used for public purposes including creating parks or improving other public property.
AVON — A small slice of town-owned land here could have a big impact on the future of one of the town’s biggest buildings.
The Avon Town Council this fall will ask voters for permission to sell about 3,000 square feet of property on the northeast corner of the Seasons building. That small parcel now has a bit of landscaping and a climbing wall along the town’s pedestrian mall. Owners of the Seasons have asked to buy the property to help with a renovation project at the building.
The Seasons building, first known as the Peregrine, is a large structure comprised of 104 condos and thousands of square feet of office, retail and other commercial space. The condos are all privately owned, with about 30 being used for short-term lodging. But much of the retail and commercial space is vacant, a situation that has persisted since Vail Resorts moved its corporate offices to Broomfield several years ago.
The Seasons, then known as the Peregrine, was bought in 1994 by a partnership of Vail Resorts and Denver-based Gart Properties, doing business as Avon Partners II. The new owners finished the building and quickly sold the residential units, with Vail Resorts moving most of its corporate offices into the main floor.
In 2007, the Seasons made up a big part of the town’s West Town Center Investment Plan, a planning guide intended to direct future development in the area.
Matt Trasen, a project manager with Gart Properties, said the company was an active participant in that process. If the world’s economy hadn’t nose-dived in 2008, the Seasons might have been renovated by now. Today, with an improving economy locally and nationally, Gart Properties sees an opportunity to improve the looks of the building, help enliven the retail space on the north side and mesh better with the pedestrian Main Street.
In May, the building owners presented the Avon Town Council with ideas to improve the building, including second story additions, converting ground-floor space on the northeast and northwest corners to new accommodation units. The ideas also include converting some of the ground-level units to shared office space.
Trasen said the small town parcel could help provide better access to the northeast corner of the building.
That’s where town voters come into the picture.
Avon’s town charter requires voter approval for any sale of town owned land, no matter the size. The November ballot issue asks voters to allow the town council to negotiate a deal for the property. The ballot question doesn’t set a price, but only specifies that the sale price be “not less than fair market value as determined by an appraiser acceptable to the Avon Town Council.”
Trasen and Avon Mayor Jennie Fancher said both the town and the building owners looked into options other than an outright sale. In the end, both sides agreed that a sale was the best plan.
At this point, that’s the only part of the ideas for renovating the Seasons that rises to the level of concrete planning. The rest, at the moment, could best be called “advanced thinking.”
Trasen said at a meeting with the condo owners’ association, Gart Properties representatives stressed that “this isn’t some fully cooked plan — we have a long way to go.”
Avon Planning Manager Matt Pielsticker agreed. But, he said, what he and other town officials have seen so far looks promising.
Renovations to the Seasons could help turn that part of Main Street into more of a place to go to, rather than walk past, Pielsticker said.
Beyond the ideas for the Seasons, a lot to the north of Main Street, known in town parlance as Lot B, has been the subject of preliminary talk as the location for a new hotel in town.
Like the Seasons, any new hotel in the neighborhood would front the Main Street pedestrian area and would be just a few-minutes walk from the gondola that runs up to Beaver Creek.
“Both of those things could develop pretty quickly,” Pielsticker said.
Gart Properties seems to be ready to move, if things fall into place.
Trasen said if voters approve the property sale, then Gart Properties could move fairly quickly.
“That’s our plan,” Trasen said. With voter approval, “We’d start working immediately on the (land purchase), design and permitting.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org or @scottnmiller.