A new proposal for an expansion to the 80|50 private residence club in the North Village between Canyon Boulevard and Minaret Road in Mammoth came before the Planning and Economic Development Commission (PEDC) on Nov. 13.
The Commission approved a Tentative Tract Map and Use Permit for the new Building “C,” the third and final building in the 80|50 complex, in April 2005. The building permit issued at that time was to allow for the construction of a new, 41,134 square-foot condo complex with a total of 33 bedrooms.
Between 2005 and 2013, property owner SFI Mammoth Owner, LP decided to re-envision the design for Building “C.”
The new design is for a 70,195 square-foot, 73-room boutique hotel building. The “Inn at the Village” design calls for amendments to density, height, and setback requirements. Density would increase from 55 bedrooms per acre to 75 bedrooms per acre; height from the currently approved design of 62 feet to 93.75 feet with an additional 4.5 feet for roof appurtenances; and setback reductions on Minaret Boulevard from 30-40 feet to 25-28 feet.
To balance out the setback reduction, Severy Realty Group and Bull Stockwell Allen Architects, consultants for the project, have proposed increasing the setback near the adjacent Fireside Condominiums complex by 17 feet.
Commissioners took both the proposed density and setback amendments in stride, but struggled to get behind an addition of as many as 36.5 feet to the height of Building “C.” Although Severy Realty President Dana Severy noted that the new height would be comparable to that of the Westin Monache Resort across Canyon Boulevard, Commissioner Elizabeth Tenney called this a comparison of apples to oranges. “The Westin sits on a knoll, surrounded by trees, set back, with a circular drive. I don’t think we can do a straight across comparison,” she said.
Commissioner Rhonda Duggan also noted that the workshop presentation had depicted the proposed addition neighbored by buildings that have yet to be built. “If all the other buildings were built already, this might be a different issue,” she said; “but the first building going up is going to look disproportionate.”
Commissioner Colin Fernie added that while the profile of the building might not be as dominant from some locations, it would potentially block the viewshed that many locals and visitors enjoy when coming down Minaret Boulevard toward Main Street. “It’s going to dwarf the buildings around it, and the view of the Sherwins,” he said. “I see a sheer wall that goes up on the east side and looks too urban to me,” Commissioner Tenney added. “It doesn’t frame the view; it puts a wall on the view.”
“We didn’t add the height lightly,” said John Ashworth of Bull Stockwell Allen Architects. “We added it because we thought there was a good precedent [set by the Westin], and we needed to stack the units.” Severy elaborated on this point, explaining that the design shift for Building “C” from a condo building to a hotel required a greater room count and more regulated room size. “The room count is really important for the economic sustainability of the project,” he said. The shift in design also meant that ceilings that were initially proposed at 9 feet rose to 15 on the ground floor to accommodate guest lounges, food and beverage venues, and spas.
“We weren’t trying to be the tallest building,” Severy said.
Considering the size of the hotel, Commissioners also questioned what impact Building “C” would have on traffic and parking in the North Village area. “There’s an age old problem at the Village that has to do with product delivery,” said Commissioner Dave Harvey. He noted the large trucks that park in the center lane on Minaret to deliver restaurant or janitorial supplies to Village businesses. “How do you intend on handling that delivery situation?” he asked. “It would be disingenuous for me to suggest that there’s a perfect, elegant solution for this project,” said Severy. He noted that smaller delivery vehicles would have access to the building from Canyon Boulevard. But, “There is going to be some staging out on Minaret. We can stage delivery times off peak, but that isn’t a perfect solution.”
As for guest parking, Severy said that the parking garage would fully accommodate all guests. Vehicular access to the garage will remain off of Canyon Boulevard to eliminate the need for curb cuts along Minaret. “This project does not create a parking problem,” he said.
Severy did point out the newly designed project’s attempt to encourage pedestrian circulation along Minaret. The proposed design includes a sidewalk, street level porte cochere and terrace intended to animate the streetscape. However, said Commissioner Tenney, “I see a glassed in entrance simply as a way to get to the hotel. Animation is on the street; not drawing people in to go up to the lobby of a hotel.”
In spite of their concerns, Commissioners agreed that the project could potentially bring valuable “hot beds” to the North Village. “This is exciting to see,” said Commissioner Fernie. “I’m glad to see that the build-out is happening,” added Commissioner Duggan. She applauded the project’s intent to attract “a particular level of guest. The Town doesn’t have enough of that amenity right now. That’s what makes these beds hot.”
Severy thanked the Commissioners for their feedback. “All of your thoughts, comments and input are taken in a constructive manner and appreciated,” he said. The building permit for Building “C” will remain valid through Nov. 28, 2014.
Following the PEDC workshop, the Advisory Design Panel (ADP) reviewed density and height on Thursday, Nov. 14. According to Associate Planner Jen Daugherty, “ADP members had a lot of questions and comments on the height [of the building]. A lot of their concerns focused on the façade facing Minaret; they saw that as a severe wall.” Daugherty explained some of the ADP suggestions for increased articulation at the front of the building, noting that the ADP remained aware that a hotel design necessitates rooms neatly stacked on each other. “The ADP suggested looking at different ways to deal with the penthouse units at the top, reconfiguring those to reduce the overall height,” as well as moving some units to lower floors to reduce the overall height, Daugherty said.
Severy Realty Group and Bull Stockwell Allen Architects will come back before the ADP on Dec. 12 in an open public meeting with preliminary sketches addressing those suggestions.