Developer drops plan for 20-story building
AVON – A Florida developer’s dream of building the tallest building between Denver and Salt Lake City in the town core won’t happen.After meeting resistance from the community, including Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron, developer Keith Jennings has abandoned his idea for a 250-foot building. The parcel known as lot 61, a one-acre lot between The Seasons and Avon Center, is owned by Avon resident Michael Hazard.Hazard now has the property under contract with another developer, he said Tuesday. The new developer is a time share company based in Florida.”I have an idea of what they are planning to do, but I can’t speak yet,” Hazard said. “(The zoning) requires that it will be a mixed project, residential and commercial. The current zoning requires that 17,500 square of commercial be built.”In September, Jennings told the Avon Town Council he wanted to build a 20-story building with 280,000 square feet of residential and commercial space. The $65 million project would have included 120 condominiums, some with unobstructed views of Beaver Creek Mountain, and retail space. The previous obstaclesBut for that to happen, two things had to be settled.First, Avon needed to settle a lawsuit with The Avon Center over the project’s density – which both sides now say they’re ready to settle. Second, the council would have had to change the town’s zoning code to allow a taller building. Right now, the height limit is 105 feet – nine stories, similar to the Avon Center. “I think (Jennings) realized how difficult it would be to get additional height approved,” said Tambi Katieb, director of the town’s community development department.In addition to the zoning problems, other concerns about the project surfaced after it was announced. In a letter to Avon Mayor Buz Reynolds, Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron wrote the ski company was prepared to spend “unlimited resources, repeat, unlimited resources to muster whatever opposition is needed to send this terrible proposal to the graveyard it deserves.” Since then, Katieb said there were no more conversations with Jennings about changing the zoning to allow different height. Katieb said he expects to meet with the new developers next week.”The group that is under contract now, is looking at working with the zoning that already exists,” he said. “We’ve received no requests to change any of the entitlements the zoning allows in height or density already approved for that property. It seems to me that by early February we will have a better understanding of what’s going on there.”To develop the site, Hazard has said there has to be enough commercial and residential density to be financially viable for a developer. Jennings called lot 61 “beach-front property” that one day could be connected by ski lift to Beaver Creek. He said buyers could get a condo there for half the cost of a similar home in Beaver Creek. Last March, the Avon Center homeowners association sued Avon and Jennings because the town approved higher density for the lot. But George Pakozdi, an Avon Center homeowner and president of the homeowners association, said his organization is now ready to settle. Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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