First Glimpse at Major Developer's Plan for Downtown Dillon

Town of Dillon/Courtesy image
A rendering depicts the proposed 485,000-square-foot development near the Dillon Reservoir. The mixed-use structure would contain residential and commercial space and serve as the town's new landmark if approved for construction.
Town of Dillon/Courtesy illustration

Dillon Planning and Zoning Commission officials weighed in on a plan to redevelop the town center with five new structures including a new town hall and mixed-use buildings, during a Wednesday, June 5, meeting.

The Porritt Group, owned by developer Jake Porritt, is proposing the plan that would result in 271 new market-rate residential units, 282 workforce housing units, four new restaurant spaces and numerous commercial and retail spaces, including a small grocery store, if it is ultimately approved.

“His concepts haven’t really been vetted by anybody. This is really the first introduction of it in the public realm,” Dillon senior town planner Ned West said. “So we would love feedback on it. Some of it is really out there.”

Porritt’s proposed plan includes five structures: a new town hall, the stalled condominium project formerly known as Uptown 240, a workforce housing complex, a mixed-use building and a lakefront “branded residence” development.

The Dillon Town Council earlier this year approved a planned unit development plan for the lakefront development at 626 Lake Dillon Drive, where the now-defunct Arapahoe Cafe and Best Western now stand. The development would include 200 condominium units, three restaurants, retail spaces, a public observation deck, ground-level plaza and a private pool and rooftop area.

Robert Tann/Summit Daily News
Arapahoe Cafe & Pub is pictured in Dillon on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.
Robert Tann/Summit Daily News

The 200 condo units there would be “branded residences,” meaning an individual would own their condo unit but rent it out as a short-term rental.

Porritt has previously said that the lakefront development is expected to generate more than 75% of the taxbase for the metro districts, which will fund public infrastructure associated with the redevelopment plans.

But a referendum petition circulated by some town residents could upend Town Council’s approval of the lakefront development. The petition could send the ordinance approving the lakefront development back to the Town Council and, if not repealed by the council, to a town referendum vote, with a special election.

Summit County resident Mary Ellen Gilliland said at the Planning Commission meeting that many residents opposed to the lakefront development were “frustrated and upset” when the Town Council approved the project.

A rendering shows two options for the view corridor of Dillon Reservoir near the proposed branded residence development. The one on the left depicts what the developer could build on the site without council approval while the one on the right shows the approved project that was developed with town input and public benefits.
Porritt Group/Courtesy illustration

“Our position is we are certainly not against development,” Gilliland said. “It’s just that this plan we felt was premature in not having the components that every other development plan in the town has.”

West and the Planning Commission briefly discussed what Porritt could construct based on the underlying residential high zoning for the area if the planned unit development approval is overturned.

The height variance approved through the planned unit development process allows for the lakefront development to have a roofline of 55 feet and an observation deck that reaches to 64 feet. 

The underlying residential high zoning would only allow for the structures to be about 43 feet in height, West said. Without requiring approval from the Dillon Town Council, Porritt could construct a building with 200 condominium units that does not include public amenities such as a park along Lake Dillon Drive or retail and restaurant space and would cover most of the lakefront site, he said.

The Planning Commission requested West provide additional data about building heights in town and more information about the scaling of the structure for continued discussion.

At the Uptown 240 site, Porritt has been working to restart construction, but issues related to a change in building codes have stymied progress, West said. The town has previously approved that project with 71 market-rate residential condominiums and nine workforce housing units.

A rendering shows the Uptown 240 project, which is one of the projects Developer Jake Porritt has included in his concept master plan for the redevelopment of the Dillon town core. The Dillon Planning and Zoning Commission is set to discuss Porritt’s proposed master plan Wednesday, June 5, 2024.
Town of Dillon/Courtesy illustration

Porritt’s proposal also includes a new town hall that would be located by the Dillon sign at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and Lake Dillon Drive, where Lake Dillon Liquors now stands. The town hall is proposed to be a “jewel” feature that would draw people into town.

“This developer has this idea that this is what our Dillon town hall could be, something spectacular, eye-popping, really catching and enticing (people) to make that turn into our town center,” West said.

Dillon Planning Commissioner Suzanne Pugsley said of the proposed town hall concepts, “As far as architecture, I don’t really like any of these.”

Renderings show options for a municipal building that Developer Jake Porritt is proposing at 149 Tenderfoot Street as part of his master plan to redevelop the Dillon town core. The Dillon Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled Wednesday, June 5, 2024, to discuss these concepts in Porritt’s proposed master plan.
Porritt Group/Courtesy illustration

Where the existing Town Hall stands at 275 Lake Dillon Drive, Porritt’s redevelopment plan proposes 130 workforce housing units and 289 parking spaces within a two-level parking garage.

Porritt’s concept also proposes a mixed-use building at the corner of Lake Dillon Drive and East LaBonte Street — which is on a plot of land where a shopping center and Pug Ryan’s Brewery is located — with 143 workforce housing units, 445 parking spaces and over 21,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store. Some Dillon Planning Commissioners questioned the size and scale of this mixed-use building and whether it could be broken up in some way.

In response to a question from the commissioners about how the public parts of the project — such as workforce housing — would be funded, West said that those details have not been completely ironed out yet. But funds from the metro district are expected to cover most of the public infrastructure, and the town also has funds available in its 5a fund, West said. He added that there will also be impact fees related to the project that can help fund some components.

An overlay shows the proposed location of a mixed-use building that would be a public-private partnership between developer Jake Porritt and the town of Dillon that would bring workforce housing, retail and parking to a lot that includes Pug Ryans Brewery and a shopping center.
Town of Dillon/Courtesy illustration

Asked which of the proposed projects would require a planned unit development application to receive variances from the underlying zoning, West said he expects all of the unapproved projects to require that if they move forward.

Porritt does not currently own all of the land where these projects are planned but is in negotiation with property owners, West said.

Dillon Planning Commissioner Allison Johnston suggested a “collaboration meeting” be scheduled where the Planning Commission and members of the public could ask questions directly to the developer.

“It would be helpful for Dillon residents to see the vision,” Johnston said.

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