Some large developments in Grand County slow down or stop; others keep rolling
February 2, 2009
Government planning offices once buzzing with large-scale development applications are seeing less activity now that the recession is in full force.
“It’s a good time to be working on our comp plan,” said Fraser’s Town Planner Catherine Trotter, referring to the town’s multi-year public planning document being updated in-house.
Grand Park has slowed its market-driven Cozens Meadow subdivision construction and has focused on commercial enterprises such as a gas station “General Store” with car wash located next door to recreation-center construction and an adventure park.
“They haven’t pulled any new building permits in a long time,” Trotter said.
Across the way, the Rendezvous development has put on hold a stacked condominium project of 84 units on six acres.
“Due to the uncertain economic conditions, the Rendezvous team has decided to hold on going in front of the planning commission …,” states a Jan. 13 e-mail to the Town of Fraser. “We will contact you when we are ready to proceed.”
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On a smaller scale, a proposed commercial/retail development south of Moonshine Liquors on 1.5 acres in Fraser is moving forward with its planning stages. Developing Equities LLC is seeking planning approval for two buildings totaling 10,000 square-feet of commercial and retail.
“It’s definitely slowed down; it hasn’t stopped, but definitely slowed,” said Winter Park Planner James Shockey.
Yet major developers, namely Winter Park Resort and Lakota Park, are still trucking forward.
The Resort’s Village Core, a mixed-use development with shops, residential units and a three-story parking garage plus amenities such as an ice-skating rink, is undergoing finishing touches on its first phase. Fourteen commercial and 14 residential units are the first to be completed.
Lakota Park, with 110 townhomes, single-family residences and triplexes, is about 50 percent to 75 percent complete with infrastructures and a few homes are under construction, Shockey said.
As far as the Rendezvous subdivision on the Winter Park side, “We intend to meet with them in the near future to discuss plans,” Shockey said.
Numerous smaller projects throughout Winter Park are still on track to move forward in the spring, he said.
In Grand Lake, it appears Grand Camp, a commercial complex at the entrance to town on Highway 34, is one project that still has wheels. The project gained final town approval last week.
Others have either slowed or are being postponed, according to Planning Commission Chairman Marvin Fischer.
The Rapids, with its plans to replace existing cabins with condominium buildings, is “at a standstill,” Fischer said. Future Rapids construction is planned to be in phases.
The Grand Lake Repertory Theatre has altered its plans to break ground this June, holding off construction of its new theatre until a later date.
Progress on Orvis Shorefox, a much-anticipated golf course community with prospective commercial development west of town, slowed to a stop and is facing possible foreclosure come June.
The Wyndham Vacation Ownership project in the Grand Elk Ranch and Club community in Granby may be slowing progress “until the economy improves,” according to Granby Town Manager Wally Baird. However, efforts to reach a Wyndham spokesperson to confirm that were unsuccessful by press time on Monday.
Wyndham is set to build 44 timeshare condominiums in the resort community.
The Base Camp at Granby Ranch’s resort development is completing construction.
Meanwhile, the large-scale developer Village Homes with three neighborhoods within Granby Ranch filed Chapter 11 in November to reorganize.
“Unfortunately, a troubled mortgage and credit industry, expanding home inventories, rising foreclosure rates, downward trends in home and land prices and reduced consumer confidence have made this action necessary,” stated a November Village Homes press release.
“Even though things are slow, money is tight, Granby Ranch is still in pretty good shape considering circumstances,” Baird said. “It’s continuing to move forward.”
The county planning department has not received any new large-scale subdivision requests, according to County Planner Kristen Manguso, but is keeping busy with smaller projects.
Construction is under way on Sterling Pointe, a 164-unit multi-family development on 18 acres in Winter Park Ranch, commonly known as The Colony.
Meanwhile, construction has not yet started on a 136-unit condominium timeshare project on 15.32 acres in Winter Park Ranch called The Ridge, developed by Silverleaf Resorts. Construction could start in the spring, according to county planners.
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