Why must the elevator project be executed now?
The elevator upgrade has been a topic of discussion among the ownership for at least the last 15 years. With the increasing number of negative guest experiences we’ve had concerning the elevator, and the incredible positive response to our Platinum Program, the time has come to address this issue.
The south elevator still works (most of the time), but it is unacceptably slow. It is also small by today’s standards and is increasingly unreliable. For something that gets used by so many guests and owners, it just doesn’t meet our Platinum Guest Experience standards.
Why is a new lobby a part of this project?
When we started thinking about the elevator project, we pondered the question of what else needs attention and could be addressed at the same time as the elevator construction.
The logical answer was to have a much more welcoming entrance that will give our guests and owners a better first impression. We also admitted that the functionality of the current lobby area has become too small for our daily operation volume, and that the lack of a nearby restroom is a major downside for arriving guests (who tend to ask immediately “where is the closest restroom?”)
What we feared the most was the idea to have a new elevator “stuck” somewhere. This project needs to be cohesive, and to reflect the Platinum interiors of our condominiums.
Why don’t we keep the elevator in its current location?
We explored this possibility in-depth. The physical constraints of the building’s foundation, electrical service, structural stairways and more; combined with building codes that have changed since the original construction, make replacement in the existing “footprint” unfeasible. As much as it would have been preferable (and much less expensive), this option had to be dismissed after full evaluation.
Additionally, any new elevator should ideally allow access to the Lower Garage Level (which the current elevator location cannot provide). Cutting through the foundation in that particular location would involve significant structural risk and this factor weighed into our decision as well.
Accessing the Lobby Level, both Garage Levels and all levels of the original building with an elevator can only be accomplished in a few places. Some would require construction in the gap between the garage and original building – something our architect advised against due to the potential for damage to and settling of the original foundations. Others would require cutting through the post-tension slabs of the garage (for those who don’t know what a post tension slab is, think of a concrete slab with rubber bands in it that are pulled tight after the concrete has dried). This gives the concrete added strength that it otherwise would not have while keeping it thin and light – and then consider what happens when you cut one of those rubber bands. Sproing!
Where will the new elevator go?
The new elevator will be located in the southeast corner of our courtyard so that two sides can sit on the existing garage foundation walls. This saves on foundation costs. And while it does require cutting through the post-tension slabs of the garage, the structural engineer firm hired to explore this possibility explained to us that this is not such a big deal given that we are in a corner where the slab is inherently strong, and the new shaft can easily support the surrounding slab that remains.
This engineering study has been reviewed and confirmed by another highly respected engineering company.
So, with only some minor re-working of the layout on the garage levels, the proposed elevator location can access every garage level, the lobby level and all levels above. The only spaces impacted or lost are the engineering offices, part of the maintenance shop and part of the housekeeping space. Additionally, the fact that the new elevator will be much more integral to the lobby gives us confidence that it will provide arriving guests with a more seamless and professional arrival experience.
What is the timing of the project?
The plan is to start construction in April 2019, at the end of ski season. We will be open during construction, but for safety reasons, will operate at 50% capacity only. The noise disturbance, the parking constrains due to shoring posts, and all the construction activity in the building has forced us to limit booking summer reservations. We’ll be offering deeply discounted rental rates during that time, given the circumstances. Then we should be complete and ready for the 2019-2020 ski season starting mid-December.
What will the project cost and how can owners pay?
The estimated cost is $5 million – with $1 million being offset by the net cost for construction and sale of a new 2 Bedroom/2 Bath condominium. This condominium will be built where the Millie Barela Boardroom and the Sales and Accounting offices currently exist. These offices will move to the second level above the new Lobby area – further allowing for staff offices to be consolidated in one location rather than scattered. In April 2018 the owners approved a special assessment for this project. Please see the cost per unit number here. Owners have the choice of paying:
- One lump sum billed in September 2018 with a 0.5% discount;
- Two payments of 50% each, billed in February and June 2019;
- Twelve monthly payments with billing starting in September 2018;
- Financed over five years starting January 2019.
The interest rate may vary depending on the final interest rate approved by the bank and just how many owners prefer the longer-term financing option. The Association will not make any money on that arbitrage, but cannot afford to lose any money either.
Owners received an email asking for their payment preferences in September 2018. If you have not received this, please contact Chase Simmons at [email protected]
What will happen to the old elevator?
The current elevator will continue functioning until it no longer makes financial or operational sense to keep it running. We are investigating the possibility of converting this elevator into a service elevator for our housekeeping and maintenance staff, which might be possible with a different set of operation standards. When it doesn’t make any more sense to keep the current elevator, this space could be used for other purposes such as housekeeping closets for each floor. A property of our size and guest volume should ideally have a service elevator (along with two primary guest elevators) to relieve the burden of housekeeping and maintenance needs on the use of the principle guest elevators. Again, we believe this will improve the overall guest experience enormously.
Can we see the design of the project?
Absolutely! We are still working on the main drawings for this project, but we are getting ready to present our Request for Proposal to several (local and national) Interior Design Firms. We hope to make our new entrance to the building beautiful, functional and timeless. We will work with a Consultant to help guide us in selection of an Interior Design Firm as well as to advise us when it is time to make decisions on final design.
Will this project add value to our properties?
We believe that this project will help us to maintain your property values. Most owners have invested to bring their individual condominium up to Platinum status. The common areas of the Antlers need similar investment for our overall property to be regarded as a premier destination. We are afraid that if nothing is done, your property value will decrease with time, especially when comparing our common areas with others in the Lionshead neighborhood.
Why are we also building a new two-bedroom condominium?
The idea behind the construction and sale of a new 2 bedroom/2 bath condominium is simply to offset this capital project with the net gain from that transaction.
Can the Antlers owners purchase the new condominium?
The Antlers owners will be given the first opportunity to purchase the new condominium, before it is put onto the general market for sale. That will likely happen (pre-construction, obviously) around March, 2019.
How will we address any perceived “downside” of the new elevator location relative to the units which are closest to it?
We recognize that some units will experience a loss of natural light in their courtyard-facing area as a result of the location of the new elevator. The elevator project team is actively examining the potential use of various design and decorative features to offset this factor. Natural “light wells”, relief art and improved corridor lighting are all being examined to see how we can best mitigate any unintended consequences of the new elevator location. While we recognize that some owners may also be concerned about traffic and noise from the new elevator, based upon the experience of those owners who are closest to the current elevators, we do not anticipate this to be an issue. Moreover, it should be an advantage to those owners who will now have better proximity to the newest elevator in our building.
Why don’t we have a Committee of Owners to advise and decide on features like the final design of the lobby space and any improvements to the areas near the new elevator?
In fact, we do – the Board of Directors are the elected representatives of the Owners and they are intimately involved in all aspects of the project. Two members of the Board are part of the Project team so they are very involved in the detailed planning and execution of the project. And the Board as a whole is providing close oversight to the project. The Board felt it would be redundant to convene any additional Committees to oversee the work but also strongly wants owners to have access to information about the project and to have the opportunity to provide their input. The Board and Antlers staff have mutually committed to active and transparent communication on the project as it moves forward. Any owner with questions, ideas or concerns can contact Antlers Management or the Board, as appropriate, and all inquiries or suggestions will be considered.
This project is expensive. Isn’t it possible to spend less and achieve most of what we need?
The Board and Management have carefully considered the scope of the project and determined that the focus of the project makes the most sense. We have worked diligently to include elements which are inter-related (the elevator, offices and lobby space) and not to make it a piecemeal project which may be less expensive but ultimately not achieve the goals of a better guest experience and a Platinum upgrade to some important common elements. If we narrowed the project scope, we might spend less today but have to take on additional related capital projects in the near future. Ultimately, that would prove more expensive. Some owners also suggested that we simultaneously take on additional capital projects which are not directly linked to the elements which are included in the project (e.g. refreshing the south façade of the building). These would add substantially to overall cost and – while worthy of consideration at some point — were felt to be less urgent than the elements which are integrated and have been incorporated in the scope of this project.
What information about the project has been distributed to the public at large?
Primarily this blogpost, which has been shared and referenced many times.