Long-range indicators aren't exactly indicating any kind of ascent or comeback in new mountain resort real estate condominium projects. But there is an ascent evident in a dramatically revitalized residential condominium project at the foot of Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado that goes on the market today. Its name? THE ASCENT.
THE ASCENT (yes, it's in all capital letters) is unique in the mountain real estate world for several reasons. Not the least is the price point: Luxurious Beaver Creek residences offered up to 67 percent off list price, making ownership at the posh Vail Valley resort potentially far more affordable to families who had given up the search during the recession.
These condos are now priced from $350,000 to $1.1 million. That might not seem like a giveaway in some other resorts, but these prices are unheard of for this type of residence in Beaver Creek.
The project began life in 2008 as a five-star, five-floor property called The Gates Residences. Then the economy collapsed. The building has sat empty, save for a caretaker, since then. The location is across from the popular Mirabelle Restaurant, just inside the resort gates.
Condo Capital Solutions (CCS), a self-funded company based in Louisville, Colo., with a reputation for turning around distressed condo properties, has amassed more than $400 million in turnaround projects in Arizona, Florida, and Colorado, according to owner Peter Wells.
Wells told OnTheSnow moments before THE ASCENT re-opened its doors late yesterday that his company spotted the opportunity in their "back yard" and picked up the $40 million loan that had been in default by the original Dallas-based developer. The property, interior and exterior, has been refurbished in less than three months and is turnkey ready.
"It's a location at the base of a world-class ski resort, two hours from Denver, 30 minutes from Eagle County Regional Airport, and 10 minutes from Vail," Wells said. "The bones of the building are great in terms of construction and the redesign inside and out is a total repositioning."
The sales will be managed and marketed by Slifer Smith & Frampton, a 45-year-old firm responsible for nearly half the sales volume in the Vail Valley. The first 25 residences in the 49-unit building are included in this first offering, Slifer President Jim Flaum said.
Slifer Designs was responsible for redesigning interior spaces through a merger of European and contemporary concepts.
"We took the public spaces, for example, and made them more fun and playful with sophisticated colors and finishes," Slifer Design's Director of Hospitality Donna Figg said. "Some striking features are the white linear stone fireplace in the lobby and circular metal art collage."
The amenity list is long, including underground heated parking, indoor pool and spa, steam room, exercise facilities, and outdoor fireplace and spa. Free shuttles take guests the short run up the hill to the ski slopes and summer activities.
"The future for new mountain real estate development, at least in the Rockies, is likely to be on hold for three years, maybe more," Wells told OnTheSnow. "The process of buying land, getting equity partners, and lenders to lend, is simply not very likely."
Wells said the availability of ski-in, ski-out land to build on in the Vail Valley is definitely limited, though a project in the early stages of a development west of LionsHead is proceeding.
THE ASCENT, Wells said, is an example of how his company's concept is well-timed for the current market dynamics. The upgrades to the facility were able to be completed at 46 percent of replacement cost, "ideal for buyers looking for value" that may have been way out of reach just a few years ago.