Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association's monthly report. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends both in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version, with links to supporting documents, is available at www.vailhomeowners.com.
The town of Vail announced that proposed development of the Steadman medical office building has been terminated.
The medical office building was to be built in partnership with the town of Vail's redevelopment of portions of its municipal building complex on the South Frontage Road, near the Four Seasons Hotel.
Inadequate financial conditions was the cause given for the termination by a representative of the Steadman Clinic, one of the project's developers.
The medical office building was the keystone in a series of other decisions that have been made or remain under consideration by the town of Vail, the Vail Valley Medical Center and others.
The local press reports that the town of Vail alone has spent nearly half a million dollars on the project. Considerable town staff time has been allocated in preparation for public review and related matters. The Vail Valley Medical Center and project developers likewise made considerable investments in getting the project prepared for public review.
The town must decide to proceed or shutter: One of the major decisions to be made by the town of Vail is if the proposed $15 million redevelopment of the municipal building should proceed? Detailed design and construction logistics for the project were well advanced, or even under way. The town had programmed into its financial strategy $5 million that was to be paid for by a portion of the town municipal building site by the Steadman medical group for their proposed new building.
As of Nov. 6, the town council decided to further consider hitching the refinancing of the Timber Ridge affordable-housing project to the financing of the new town hall. The financial package would have opened the door to the long sought-after redevelopment of half of the Timber Ridge housing project.
Vail Valley Medical Center's long-range plan proceeding: The cancellation of the medical office building will not curtail the Vail Valley Medical Center's effort to develop a long-range plan for its facilities in Vail. The Vail Valley Medical Center gave assurance that it will continue its presence in Vail. Likewise, the town said it will continue to work cooperatively with the medical center. These are both important factors to the residential neighborhoods that are currently heavily affected by the presence of the medical center.
Neighborhood issues remain in play: In the weeks preceding cancellation, a representative of the neighborhood had been informed that the controversial heliport would be relocated.
It had been proposed to be located on an existing medical center building. It was to be moved instead to the roof of the proposed Steadman building, away from residential uses. The surrounding residential neighborhood raised public safety concerns that were reinforced by Federal Aviation Administration recommended guidelines.
The current location of the helipad on the western edge of the municipal building site was to be relocated because of it close proximity to the proposed Steadman building.
The cancelation of the Steadman building also has implications for traffic, another public safety issue raised by the affected neighborhood. Town planners were well advanced in finding methods to remove Vail Valley Medical Center traffic from Vail Road and West Meadow Drive by building a new roundabout near the east entrance to the Lionshead parking structure.
Many of these public safety issues can still be resolved once the medical center moves forward with the redevelopment of the WestStar Bank building, which has been mentioned as a possibly by the medical center in their rational for the facility planning effort of the existing campus now under way.
Staying engaged for the long haul: The Homeowners Association is continuing to monitor the town of Vail and Vail Valley Medical Center planning efforts, seeking or advocating constructive solutions to issues raised by the affected neighborhoods.
Many of the solutions identified by the property owners in the affected neighborhoods can still proceed despite the outcome of the current circumstance.