Avon project gets another chance | VailDaily.com

Avon project gets another chance

Christine Ina Casillas

Only office, retail, restaurant and business space was allowed on the lot.|

North of U.S. Highway 6 in Avon, east of the base of Beaver Creek, sits a plot of land with nothing but a gaping hole next to a mobile home.

The land is expected to be home to offices, shops and timeshare units, but nothing has been built on the property since a set of development plans were approved more than five years ago.

If nothing gets built in the next six months, the developer will have to pay the town to restore the property and fill in the hole.

A building permit for the Chateau St. Claire project – now called the Geneva Crown Club – expires Feb. 18 because no construction has occured since August, when some dirt was moved and the land was graded for future construction.

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“There has been a substantial amount of time since that ground has been dug in,” said Larry Brooks, Avon town manager. “We’re going to extend it one more time but with additional protection for the community.

“We’ve exhausted our authority to extend a building permit,” Brooks added.

Town planners can no longer extend the building permit because of specific provisions that say there can be no more extensions granted on this project. The project already has been extended at least three times since 1998.

The Avon Town Council, however, has the authority to extend the project and has given the developer another six months. But when that building permit expires, all of the existing zoning approvals also will expire.

The Avon Town Council asked the developer for some guarantees the project will be built, Brooks said. If the project isn’t built in six months, the developer will be required to pay the town for the time lost in building the project.

“If it’s not developed, we want to make sure that site gets cleaned up and restored to its natural state,” Brooks said.

The Geneva Crown Club is not the same project that was originally proposed, said Chris Kontogiannis, building permit holder for the land.

“We have limited construction on the site,” Kontogiannis said. “The project is not the same proposal we had once upon a time – it’s been developed and changed over the years.

“We are getting under way shortly,” Kontogiannis added.

The project approved more than five years ago was a 103,000-square-foot development that included 72,000 square feet of business and restaurant space and a 37,000-square-foot parking structure on six acres of the lot. Only office, retail, restaurant and business space was allowed on the lot.

A 150-room hotel had been proposed, but all the discussions and approvals for the development were delayed because of access problems to the property from Highway 6, Avon town planners said.

And the 37,000 square feet alloted for the parking structure was nixed because that much parking wasn’t necessary for a hotel, Avon planners said in 1998.

In 1998, the town also tagged on three additional conditions, insisting the developer provide access to the undeveloped adjacent property to the east, prohibit dogs on the site and place deed restrictions on 10 percent the residential space.

Zoning regulations and paving access to the land have been problems for the architects trying to design the project, but construction was expected to begin in the summer of 1998 and end by the winter of 1999-2000. The project stalled.

A building permit was reissued in June 2000 but expired shortly after that because nothing was built. The building permit was then extended for another six months.

Kontogiannis said the holidays delayed slightly the latest incarnation of the project.

“The final construction loan – both from major banks – was delayed over the holidays,” Kontogiannis said. “But we’re getting back on track to conclude those arrangements.”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.

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