See Forever Plaza, a 27-unit project in the Mountain Village Core, is underway, with a scheduled completion in the fall of 2005. In addition to the luxury condominium units, which will be managed by The Wyndham Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa, the project includes a new public park on the ridge overlooking the Telluride Valley, and a public restaurant that will enjoy the same views. A new hiking trail from Mountain Village to Telluride will originate at the park.
Developer John Abrams, who previously developed the Lodge at Mountain Village, explained this week that the post 9/11 economy delayed the See Forever Village project for a few years. Key to getting it underway, he said, has been presales of a number of units. Of particular note: two of the buyers are the former and the current owners of the Telluride Ski and Golf Co., Ron Allred and Chuck Horning.
Allred, who developed Mountain Village, told Abrams that the site was the best in the town, Abrams said. At a higher elevation than The Peaks, it boasts nearly 360 degree views encompassing Gold Hill and Prospect Basin, the Wilsons and the San Sophia range that frames the Telluride valley to the north. It is just a four-minute walk to the gondola, Abrams said.
There is no site like See Forever Village in any other ski resort in the United States, Allred said. The views of the San Juan mountain range, privacy, proximity to the Mountain Village Core, services and amenities are unrivaled.Ó Allred and his wife are reportedly selling their existing home in Mountain Village in favor of living in See Forever Village.
The formula of high-end condominiums affiliated with a major hotel is one Abrams developed with the Lodge at Mountain Village.
For The Peaks, he explained, See Forever Plaza will provide more inventory. For the owners of units, the benefits of the affiliation include hotel amenities such as housekeeping, maintenance, room service and rental management.
A lot of people are discovering that they donÕt really need or like the hassles of maintaining a second home, Abrams said. ÒThis way they get the benefits of a second home without all the hassle.
Sales of units at See Forever Plaza are being handled by Nels Cary, owner of The Peaks Real Estate, and T.D. Smith, President and Managing Broker for the Telluride Real Estate Corp. The units range in size between 1,850 and 5,200 square feet and will be sold at prices starting at about $2 million and reaching $6 million for a penthouse.
"We've incorporated every conceivable amenity," Abrams said, from valet parking to custom finishes to Ð for a limited time Ð lifetime ski, golf and spa memberships.
All told, the project boasts 27 keys, which is how the hospitality industry calculates how many rentable units a condominium project contains. While owners won't be required to place their units on the short-term market for rent to visitors when they are not in residence, most buyers of similar projects do in fact take advantage of the opportunity to offset ownership costs, Abrams said.
No operator has been selected for the restaurant, which boasts nearly unobstructed views of the Telluride valley, Abrams said. In addition to the new public park, trail, and restaurant, the development also includes three units of deed-restricted employee housing as a community benefit. The benefits were negotiated by Abrams with the Town of Mountain Village as part of the project's approvals process.
Given the difficulty, some might say near-impossibility, of financing hotels in recent years, a luxury condominium project affiliated with an established hotel has proven to be a viable alternative, Abrams said. With the expansion of the Telluride Ski Area, visitors typically spend upwards of a week here, he explained. That is a long time to occupy a hotel room. Visitors like having access to a kitchen and the ability to share a unit with family members. Moreover, larger units have been proven to be more saleable than smaller ones. To that end, See Forever Plaza consists of fewer units than the property was originally zoned for.
The general contractor on the project, the Weitz Company, has built major projects in Vail, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole and Beaver Creek. Catherine Hobbs of Studio Frank will serve as the interior designer, with Ludwig Construction providing finish carpentry.