Growth That’s Good for Us | Dispatches
by Rob Schultheis
May 16, 2008 | 2471 views | 1 1 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Contrary to the misconceptions held by many in the Telluride community, I am not a knee-jerk No-Growther; I am just opposed to the kind of development that adds nothing to the economic vitality, beauty and uniqueness of the area, and whose sole beneficiaries are real estate peddlers, developers and construction workers from every conceivable place on the map except San Miguel County.

With this in mind, I was happy to read about the upcoming Mondrian Hotel project in the Mountain Village. We desperately need hotel accommodations, and you couldn’t do better than have the Mondrian people provide them.

A few years ago I lived in the Sunset Boulevard Mondrian for several weeks, a stay paid for by a movie studio while I labored on a script, mercifully never produced, about a giant black panther that escapes from the menagerie of the mad owner of a secret endangered species zoo (!) and proceeds to eat hundreds of Los Angelenos, tear low-flying helicopters out of the sky, behead Slash during a Guns & Roses revival concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and finally trigger a cataclysmic brush fire and vanish in the flames, to (Interscope hoped) miraculously reappear, Jaws-like, in a future series of sequels.

My screenplay may have stunk up the entire cosmos, but the Mondrian Hotel proved to be as excellent as my writing was godawful. I have stayed in a lot of hotels in my life, a few of them pretty good ones, like the Repulse Bay in Hong Kong, the Berlin Hilton, the Furnace Creek in Death Valley, and the Oriental in Bangkok, but none exceeded the Mondian, from the ultra-hip black and silver room décor, to the bagels, cream cheese, lox, onions, and capers on the breakfast menu, to the semi-impromptu Friday night piano bar musicales when the very best unknown and just-becoming-famous singers in SoCal came to flourish their pipes (I heard the then-anonymous Leannn Rimes there late one night) – everything about the place was fantastic.

Now, I don’t know what form the Telluride Mondrian will take, but one thing for sure, it’ll be superb. We’ve lucked into a great opportunity to add top-of-the-line hot beds, which we desperately need, to the community … so of course everyone who lives within pissing and moaning distance of the proposed hotel wants to whittle away at it until it doesn’t bother them.

Adding something necessary and good to Greater Telluride is fine; what’s objectionable are the way too common real estate deals where a building full of longtime retail tenants that are woven into the warp and woof of life here is sold off to an outside investor who promptly raises the rents sky-high, driving people out of business, leaving the space empty and waiting for future big-bucks tenants who may or may not exist. The realtor who cobbled the deal together takes his/her hefty commission and slinks away, without a second thought for the fate of the ruined businesses and the customers, both locals and visitors, who enjoyed their services. Does anyone here know of a single case where local realtors have tried to design a deal that would protect the former tenants and what they contribute to the common good?

A classic case: the awesome breakfast place the McFadden sisters ran in the Sheridan back in the 80s. It was by far the best, most popular breakfast spot in the history of Telluride, and was doing a booming business until the usual greedheads contrived to zap the rent into the troposphere; the restaurant promptly closed down, and afterward the space sat empty for eons.

These are the kind of heinous smash-and-grab real estate deals that have done so much to damage our community over the years. But the Mondrian Hotel project is quite the opposite, as far as I can tell. Who cares if the realtors who pull off the “we’ll make a bundle off of it” when so much good will come out of it? We shouldn’t let a few narrow-minded Nimbies and their attorneys throw a spanner in the works.
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support chair 7
May 16, 2008

why aren't you openly supporting the re-development of chair 7? a large percentage of the development was suppossed to be deed restricted housing, which would help foster a (almost non-existant) middle class within telluride city limits. (and it would have added hot-beds) with more affordable housing, more locals would live here, work here, eat here, and shop here. if you are truely concerned about our local business owners you would help the knee-jerkers realize that pushing locals to other communites (like ophir, rico, norwood, ridgway, and beyond) kills local businesses or prevents new ones from thriving (and lets not get into the commuter society the liberal "no grow-thers" have created here...isn't telluride supposed to be on the forefront of environmental life styles?...the daily commuter traffic screams CLEARLY NOT!). our local middle/working class is a vibrant group that has always added to the physical beauty of telluride and is being pushed out of the valley at an alarming rate. if you want to support the community, locals, and local business, support the redevelopment of lift 7.

and by the way, the comments/points you made regarding the real estate community are old and tired. there are a lot of great people in this group. every professional group has its bad apples...doesn't yours? its about time you and the rest of the real estate bashers figured that out. also, realtors are some of the biggest supporters of community non-profits, clearly surpasing the time or financial commitments made by the many others in this community. through the contribution of funds from the real estate transfer tax, real estators have also helped fund the town of telluride for the last 3 decades. in short, get over the realtor bashing (it actually makes you come across less sophisticated). and show a little respect, they've definitely earned it.