VAIL — The town of Vail is set to start construction on one of the area’s biggest employee housing complexes at Timber Ridge Village. The redevelopment of the apartment complexes will create 113 housing units on the property’s eastern side, with groundbreaking slated for the beginning of May.
The redevelopment is in the final stages of approval with the Town Council. On Tuesday, the council tabled the final development agreement for a couple weeks in order to answer some outstanding questions.
“The postponement has no affect on schedule,” said director of community development George Ruther. “We are making progress on an early May start.”
The project as planned will create 84 two-bedroom apartments and 29 one-bedroom apartments and will be able to house 233 people in total. That’s up from the current occupancy of 203 people. According to zoning requirements, at least 70 percent of it will be deed restricted. Vail Resorts plans to renew its master lease a majority of the units, said Ruther.
Once the Town Council gives final approvals, the town will do some rock-fall work on the slopes above the complex, and then the $25 million project will begin.
The residents most affected by the project are the people who are currently living on the eastern side of Timber Ridge. With the project coming up, Timber Ridge has asked the residents to move out by April 30, giving them the choice to terminate their lease without penalty or relocating to the western portion of the apartments during the construction period.
About 15 tenants are relocating to the other end of the complex, but Ruther said the majority of residents have chosen to terminate their leases, including some people who have lived in Timber Ridge for years.
“What I’ve been hearing is that even if people were able to stay through the termination of their leases, they are concerned about finding housing right before the 2015 World Championships. They would rather find a place now,” he said.
In some cases, the lease situation has spurred some major change of plans. Erica Cohen, who moved into Timber Ridge in November 2012, said that she and her roommate are planning to move out and find a new place. That will require breaking their one-year lease — Cohen plans to travel and then find a new place with friends, while her roommate will be taking a summer job elsewhere. She said both would have stayed in Timber Ridge if the redevelopment weren’t taking place.
“To be honest, if I still had the apartment through the summer, I probably would have stayed, we’re in a renovated unit, and it’s very comfortable. But it’s nice to have the freedom to break the lease. I’ve been here awhile and change is good,” she said. “My roommate is going to take a summer job, but she would have stayed here if this wasn’t happening.”
More affordable housing
Ruther said all the tenants have been very accommodating to the project.
“People have been understanding that we can’t make the situation better unless we move folks out for a period of time,” he said.
The Timber Ridge project is expected to finish in time for the 2014-2015 ski season, and it will add to the town’s affordable housing stock. The new units are expected to be more expensive with the improvements. Rent will go up about $100 to $150 per month, but they still fall under what the town considers affordable housing.
The town is already hearing from people who are interested in renting one of the redeveloped units.
“A lot of people are very excited at the notion of a redeveloped Timber Ridge,” Ruther said. “There are a number of folks who have already asked what opportunities there are to move into these units.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at email@example.com.