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The Taos News, February 8, 2007, Page B08

Taos Ski Valley's Village is Transforming
Bavarian Chalets Kick Off Project, Adding Six Chalets to Existing Four

by Patricia Chambers

The Village of Taos Ski Valley is about to transform itself.

Phase one of the project will be the addition of six chalets with construction slated to begin in June at The Bavarian Lodge. The Bavarian Lodge presently consists of four units.

Thomas Schulze, who is co-owner of The Bavarian with his wife, Jamie, said the design of the six chalets that will kick off new construction at the lodge will combine the look of Bavaria with the mining history of the Taos Ski Valley. "We have guests come from all over Europe who are impressed by the feeling of Bavaria that we have created here," said Schulze. "We will have lots of timber and stone to carry through the Bavarian theme."

The chalets will surround a new plaza at the base of the Kachina chairlift, which is part of the Village's Master Plan.

Taos Ski Valley's mining history dates back to the Spanish ore mines of the late 1600s, and at the turn of the last century was the site of intensive timber, gold and copper mining. The ski resort was developed by Ernie Blake and has operated on Forest Service land under a special-use permit since 1955. The village, which listed only 52 full-time residents in the last census, has about 2,000 residents when all full- and part-time residents are present.

The village sponsored a four-day "Charrette" - an intensive effort to finish an architectural project - last February. The final village Master Plan was adopted in July 2006.

The "Vision" statement in the Master Plan describes the project as a plan "to create a year-round economy based upon a resort-related commerce by improving infrastructure, preserving our environment and improving amenities for ourselves and our visitors."

Final build-out of the four-phase project is slated for the fall of 2012.

Chalet owners at The Bavarian will be able to configure their residences as two- or three-bedroom homes and if they prefer to rent the residence, The Bavarian will provide turn-key services.

The six ski-in / ski-out chalets are projected to be ready for occupancy by the spring of 2008, although Schulze, a native of Munich, points out that weather conditions could affect construction. "When you are building at this altitude, you have to be flexible with construction schedules," he said.

SMPC Architects designed the project and Las Colonias, a Taos builder, will act as construction manger.

Schulze said additional townhouses will be built near the chalets in the second phase and should be completed by 2009. "We don't expect to expand the restaurant," Schulze added, "The restaurant should be able to handle the added guests. We currently serve about 300 lunches per day."

Blue Ridge Development, owned by Alexandra Champalimaud and her husband, Bruce Schnitzer, is The Bavarian's development partner in the construction and design of the new chalets. They have completed award-winning development projects that have combined historic architecture with wilderness protection.

To accomplish the project, the developers will acquire 22,903 square feet of property from Taos Ski Valley Corporation.

The listing broker for The Bavarian Chalets is Taos Ski Valley Realty.

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