2:30 p.m., 6th Alley Bar, Arapahoe Basin, 28194 U.S. Highway 6. Big Onion is Frisco's home grown funk, blues and rock band. Apres ski concert. No cover.
THE SWING CREW
Keystone, Feb. 26
3 p.m. (Feb. 24 & 25), 2 p.m. (Feb. 26), The Last Lift Bar, 1195 Keystone Road. The Swing Crew has been playing the apres ski concert for years. No cover.
A NIGHT ON THE RED CARPET
Breckenridge, Feb. 26
5:45 p.m., The Speakeasy Movie Theatre, 103 S. Harris St. Walk the Red Carpet and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and beverages with the Breckenridge Film Festival as we celebrate Hollywood's premiere awards night of the year. Red carpet attire is encouraged. (970) 453-7243.
Haunted Tour of Breckenrdige
Breckenridge, Feb. 26
7:30 p.m., Breckenridge Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St. Late evening stroll through Breckenridge's haunted historic district. Hear eerie and unexplained stories from the past and visit one of town's oldest homes believed by many to be haunted. $15/adult, $10/child. Reservations required at BreckHeritage.com or (970) 453-9767.
THE MAGIC BEANS
Frisco, Feb. 26
9 p.m., The Barkley Ballroom, 610 Main St. A Denver-based band that leaves nothing off the table as they combine americana, funk, rock and electronica into a one sound. Tickets are $10.
A proposal for a six-story hotel and residential development at the entrance of Dillon is nearing its final hurdle, requiring only the authorization of the town council to go forward after being approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission in December.
The project — consisting of 83 hotel rooms, 23 residential units, a conference center and rooftop restaurant and lounge — is framed by the developer and town staff as part of a push to revitalize Dillon and draw more traffic into its core, which has struggled to retain and attract businesses for years.
The development, called the Crossroads at Lake Dillon, would stand at the corner of Highway 6 and Lake Dillon Drive on a high point overlooking the lake, replacing a gas station that has stood there since 1998.
"A lot of people don't even know where Dillon is," said Danny Eilts, who owns the gas station and started putting the proposal together four year ago. "The idea is to put something nice at the entrance and pull people down into Dillon."
The project is intended to cater to the high-end market and would include two penthouses on the upper level below the rooftop restaurant, which would be open to the public. Of the 23 residential units, three would be reserved for hotel employees.
KICKING UP DIRT
New construction in Dillon has been sluggish for decades. The last major project in the town-core area was the Dillon Commons building, completed nearly 20 years ago.
Crossroads would be part of a potential flurry of building activity along Lake Dillon Drive. The owner of the adjacent Adriano's Bistro Italian restaurant, Ivano Ottoborgo, has received approval for a 65-unit residential complex and street-level commercial spaces. (Ottoborgo and Eilts intially planned to do a joint project but have since decided to develop separately).
And this summer, work will begin on a major overhaul of the Dillon Amphitheatre, which is intended to boost the venue's capacity and attract bigger acts.
"Dillon is a sleeper in Summit County," Eilts said. "They just haven't had anything going on in a while. My feeling is this would be huge for the town and would put Dillon back on the map."
The town has enjoyed some recent development in the Dillon Ridge Road area, most notably with a new REI slated to open this spring. But that area of town is effectively a separate enclave, with Highway 6 separating it from the core area tucked away near the lakeshore.
The current town council has made developing that area one of its biggest priorities, commissioning several studies to game out ways to elevate the town's brand and attract investment.
"The council is motivated to support development, and I think the community is realizing that doing nothing was causing the town to fall behind," said Dillon spokeswoman Kerstin Anderson. "There's a recognition that something needs to happen in the core area."
Those efforts have at times faced resistance from some residents, particularly in the case of the amphitheater remodel. That project drew criticism for its scale and design, which some thought to be too modern.
Town staff and council members, however, have argued in meetings that simply doing nothing to stoke interest in the core area has caused it to languish.
During a public hearing for the Crossroads plan Tuesday night, some residents expressed concern over the height of the project, which at nearly 90 feet is more than double the 40 feet allowed under the town code.
Eilts is seeking an exemption, saying that he wants to take full advantage of the property's high vantage point and provide the best views of Lake Dillon and the surrounding mountains.
"I can understand the concerns, but it's time to put Dillon on the map," he said. "The views on top of the property, the highest point in town, will be incredible: Keystone, Breckenridge, the Tenmile Range, 360 degrees."
OUT WITH THE OLD
A vote on the resolution approving the project was pushed to the next meeting, on Feb. 21, because only four of the town's seven council members were present on Tuesday.
At the meeting, members expressed concerns over the proposal's allotment of parking spaces and have asked Eilts to look for ways to add more.
If the resolution is approved, Eilts would purchase the land adjacent to the gas station from the town, where two historic structures currently stand, although neither has an official historical designation.
The Old Dillon Town Hall, currently leased from the town by the High Country Conservation Center, would likely be demolished.
Sandie Mather, president of the Summit Historical Society, said the group was not interested in trying to save the building because it has been modified so many times that it only loosely resembles its original state.
The Rebekah Lodge, on the other hand, has changed only slightly since it was originally built in 1882 as Frisco's Graff Opera House. It was moved to Old Dillon in 1887 and again to its current location in 1961.
"It's 135 years old and has quite a history. It's the only opera house that I know of in the county," Mather said. "We have had very preliminary talks with Danny (Eilts) and he said he would very much like to see it preserved."
Saving the building would hinge on how expensive it would be to move it. Mather said she is currently working on getting a cost estimate and scouting for potential locations.
Real estate revenue and sales faltered at the end of 2016 following a year of lowering inventory.
Sales last December saw a vast drop from those that happened at the same time in 2015. This year, 200 sales were made compared to 270 in 2015. Revenue came in at nearly $119 million, but was still a little more than $14 million behind December of 2015. The end of the year is not typically a booming market for real estate, as some people looking to sell take their houses off the market in the hopes of getting a better deal renting. However, in 2015, December was the third highest month in both revenue and sales. December did see a higher amount of sales that hit over $1 million. In 2015, there were 17 million-dollar sales in December; 2016 had an additional three.
Dennis Clauer, owner and broker at Real Estate of the Summit Inc., said that the sharp decrease in sales was due to the small amount of inventory that Summit County had seen during all of 2016.
"Inventory continues to be at historic lows," he said.
He added that the lower amount of inventory is impacting buyers being able to find a home that fits their needs.
Lack of inventory has also had a drastic impact on the average sale price in Summit. Between January 2012 and this year, the average price of a single family home has jumped up 68 percent, Clauer said. Single-family homes in the county are sitting at an average sale price of more than $1.1 million. For condos, there was a similar jump in the average sale price, which went up 41 percent.
The rise in prices is also dependent on the area the property is found in. The top sale was for $3.885 million in the Shock Hill neighborhood. The home is just under 4,800 square feet, which Beverly Breakstone, the county assessor, said was a smaller home for the area. The price tag indicates that the neighborhood still has a high value. A property at Yingling and Mickels in Breckenridge sold for $2.3 million. The property is 1,316 square feet.
"That's not much square footage for a lot of money," Breakstone said.
She added that it was a remodeled property in the Downtown Historic district, which is also a highly valued area.
Eddie O'Brien, of O'Brien & Associates Real Estate Inc., said that there's some new developments on the horizon in Summit. Projects like Angler Mountain are nearing completion. Many of the units in those projects sell before construction is completed. O'Brien added that current developments like the new townhomes in Keystone are not helping with demand for condos.
"There's certainly a demand, but you can't measure it because the demand can't be fulfilled," he said.
Clauer said the number of condo sales jumped 161 percent between 2012 and 2017. Condo demand is coming from the usual suspects — skiers looking for a spot close to resorts, and locals hoping to find a permanent home — but O'Brien said that investors are also entering the market, looking for options to rent out on Airbnb or VRBO.
"The guy that's buying a condo and not renting it out is pretty rare," he said.
TOP FIVE: DECEMBER
1. $3,885,000 — Breckenridge, Lot 21 Shock Hill (residential home)
2. $3,850,000 — Breckenridge, Lot 21 Westridge Sub (residential home)
3, $2,350,000 — Breckenridge, Lot 7B Shock Hill Overlook #1 (residential home)
4. $2,300,000 — Breckenridge, Lot 1 Block 1 Yingling and Mickels (residential home)
5. $2,237,500 — Breckenridge, Lot 7A Shock Hill Overlook #1 (residential home)
Heavy snowfall across the western mountain region has benefitted lodging community revenues. DestiMetrics, a Denver-based resort analytics firm, released lodging numbers from more than 290 properties across Colorado, Utah, California, Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon and Montana. Revenue from November to April is up 8.7 percent from the same time last year, and occupancy is up just over 1 percent.
Both January and March saw a slight decrease in bookings. The booking pace for April rose nearly 50 percent.
DestiMetrics said in a release that consumer confidence in January was at a 15-year high, which also contributed to the rise in sales.
Vail Resorts (owner of Breckenridge Ski Resort) on Tuesday announced that last Friday, it entered an agreement to acquire Stowe Mountain Resort from Mt. Mansfield Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc., for a purchase price of $50 million.
Stowe Mountain Resort will be Vail Resorts' first mountain resort on the East Coast and adds to the company's network of 10 mountain resorts and three urban ski areas.
Vail Resorts is acquiring all of the assets related to the mountain operations of the resort, including base area skier services (food and beverage, retail and rental, lift ticket offices and ski and snowboard school facilities) at Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Other facilities such as the Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe Mountain Club, Stowe Country Club and some real estate will be retained by Mt. Mansfield Company.
"We're thrilled to add Stowe Mountain Resort to our family of world-class mountain resorts. With the investments in both mountain infrastructure and base area facilities that AIG has made over the years, Stowe Mountain Resort has become the premier, high-end resort for East Coast skiers and snowboarders. We look forward to working with AIG to continue enhancing the guest experience and to ensure the resort's long-term success," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
Douglas Tymins, president and chief executive officer of AIG Global Real Estate, said, "Under Vail Resorts' management, Stowe's reputation as a premier ski destination with a commitment to excellent service will continue to grow. AIGGRE is looking forward to combining Vail Resorts' tremendous mountain operations capabilities with our continued commitment to the development of the Spruce Peak community."
Stowe Mountain Resort is expected to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $5 million in Vail Resorts' fiscal year ending July 31, 2018.
Operations at the resort for the remainder of the 2016-17 ski season will continue in the ordinary course as will future summer and winter seasonal hiring. Vail Resorts said it will be retaining the vast majority of the resort's year-round staff.
Vail Resorts will integrate Stowe Mountain Resort into its Epic Pass and other season pass products for the 2017-18 winter season, subject to the closing. With the Epic Pass, skiers and snowboarders will have unlimited access at Stowe as well as Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.
The outcomes of a handful of lucrative property-tax appeals in Summit County came back late last month, with the county assessor’s office mostly prevailing, though several more similar petitions have already been submitted for review.
Recognizing this stark difference in land fees, and the opportunity for interpretive debate, the Denver office of financial services firm Duff & Phelps solicited 1,500 Colorado residents to file claims. Of that number, 170 clients initially surfaced across counties like Boulder, Eagle, Pitkin and Routt, including seven in Summit, and 10 more requesting evaluation with still others in processing. Duff & Phelps said it sent between 80-100 letters within the county, so more state hearings could be in the works.
“Our potential is great, but I think we only have like 50 at the moment,” said County Assessor Beverly Breakstone. “But we feel great. We feel we did a very good job presenting our case and making our point. It just so happens these hearing officers agreed with us, that they, in most of these cases, agreed that the residential use is not there.”
Summit’s cases stretched over the entire county, from Keystone Ranch to Angler Mountain, Bill’s Ranch near Frisco, Baldy Mountain in Breckenridge and the Willowbrook Subdivision in Silverthorne. Those hearings — the very first of the bunch — were of particular importance to assessor offices throughout the state as well as Duff & Phelps because of the standard they could set for those counties to follow facing down appeals. Eagle completed its hearings this past Friday and Boulder and La Plata are up next.
The question in each case, both in Summit and elsewhere, is whether parcels of land adjacent to a residence — all with a vacant classification — also meet the definitions that would grant the reduced property-tax burden. As an example, the difference in fees per designation on a $400,000 property, say, in Breckenridge, is about $4,500 a year. Multiply that by 10 years and numerous parcels and it equals the loss of approaching $5 million for county coffers that help pay for public services like schools, emergency response and snow plowing.
According to statute, land needs to be contiguous to the residential plot and be of common ownership, in addition to clearly being used in conjunction with the main property, to be classified residential. Whether the nearby land would be conveyed in a future sale is another factor taken into consideration.
“Depending on how valuable the property, it’s definitely worth a lot of money,” said Frank Celico, an assistant attorney in Summit, and lead counsel on the assessor appeals. “We’re really happy with the decisions. Until someone tells us otherwise, we feel our arguments are strong.”
In the lone case the county lost upon BAA appeal, Breakstone said the property presented in the hearing was different than the one that had previously been reviewed and found not to qualify as residential. The county has since resolved not to appeal the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, as the facts of the case changed and may not have led to a denial in the first place.
“We call that one ‘foul ball,’” said Breakstone. “We just decided that we’re going to give the man his money and move on.”
Were the county to lose in future petitions, despite strong standing after favorable verdicts in those so far, the assessor contended the county would request legal hearings in the court system. The other initial six cases, as well as those to follow, could still wind up with the court of appeals.
Reached by email, Denver-based litigation attorney F. Brittin Clayton, of Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, who is representing Duff & Phelps in the matter, offered little comment. “We are evaluating our options,” he wrote.
The county assessor plans to review the next set of properties once the winter weather subsides and will continue applying the residential description the county has used for decades — the same one with which the BAA concurred last month.
“As soon as the snow melts,” said Breakstone, “we’ll inspect every single one of them and see if they do have the criteria that makes them residential. The ones that are, we will make residential, and the ones that are not we will deny.”
The Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District (RWB) will be hosting two jobs forums this month to provide insight on careers in fire service and share what the job entails.
The forums will be held on Thursday, Feb. 23 from 4:30-6 p.m. and Thursday, March 16 from 4:30-6 p.m. Both will be held in the boardroom of Station 6, located at 316 North Main Street in Breckenridge. The forums are free and open to the public.
Deputy chief of operation Paul Kuhn, Human Resources officer Amanda Seidler and the Station 6 crew will be on hand to deliver a presentation, lead a discussion and answer questions.
RWB will be testing for firefighter candidates from March 1-29. More information and applications can be found online at http://www.RWBFire.org.