VAIL, Colorado - The Lionshead parking structure redevelopment option in Vail, Colorado, isn't dead yet for the Texas developers who have spent more than four years trying to seal the deal.
The Vail Town Council voted 3-3 to kill a pre-development agreement with Open Hospitality Parters and its representative Mark Masinter, but Councilman Farrow Hitt motioned to table the decision because Councilwoman Margaret Rogers was absent Tuesday.
The tie vote meant the deal would have failed.
Masinter said he hoped he'd have the chance to go before the entire council earlier in the day.
"By working the way we did in the community, hopefully we've earned the right to redevelop this project if it's going to be redeveloped," Masinter said.
The agreement would mean Open Hospitality Partners has a five-year exclusive option to redevelop the site, or three years following the removal of the deed restriction that Vail Resorts holds on the property, whichever comes first.
Vail Resorts has said it understands the town won't approve its Ever Vail project until the Lionshead deed restriction is lifted, but the company maintains that it needs to protect skier parking as the main reason it hasn't lifted the deed restriction yet. Vail Resorts gave the Lionshead parking structure land to the town but has held the deed restriction on the property ever since to make sure skier parking remains in place.
Mayor Dick Cleveland voted against the pre-development agreement because he thinks the town shouldn't be talking about any redevelopment plans for the site until the deed restriction is lifted, and there was nothing in the immediate future suggesting Vail Resorts would lift it, Cleveland said.
Vail Resorts spokeswoman Kristin Williams was at the meeting and told council members that Vail Resorts was of the opinion the town should stay as flexible as possible and keep its options open to other developers. Williams didn't address the deed restriction, however.
"A five-year exclusive option won't allow you to do that," she said.
Councilman Mark Gordon pointed out the 30-day termination option in the pre-development agreement, meaning either the developer or the town could pull out of the agreement as long as they did so 30 days before the option was exercised. The option would be considered "exercised" when Open Hospitality Partners puts up $500,000. The developer would then need to file an application within 18 months of that payment.
Councilwoman Rogers, who was absent, has previously said she supports Masinter and the efforts he has made to work with the community about the redevelopment project. Rogers would be the deciding vote if the council members from Tuesday's meeting vote the same way at the Nov. 3 meeting.