Employees live within Vail luxury resorts | VailDaily.com

Employees live within Vail luxury resorts

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

CVR Employee Housing 2-22-11

VAIL, Colorado – Vail real estate is all about location, location, location, and Chris Kufrovich has found a prime spot in Vail Village for just $450 a month – meals included.

Kufrovich, a Four Seasons employee, is living at the upscale resort in one of its 24 employee housing units. What his room lacks in space and amenities it certainly makes up for in convenience, and of course, location.

Affordable and employee housing has been an ongoing issue for the town of Vail, which sits in a narrow valley surrounding by public lands, leaving little room for development. In 2008, the Vail Town Council passed a new law that requires developers to build at least 50 percent of their employee housing obligation on the site of their developments.

The Four Seasons is one of many prime locations in town with employees living comfortably just a short distance from the nearest chair lift. The Tivoli Lodge, the Antlers of Vail and the Sebastian are some of the other hotels that house some of their employees, said George Ruther, Vail’s community development director.

For Kufrovich, the room at the Four Seasons provides more than just a place to sleep, it provides comfort for the soul.

“I move around a lot so I’ve gotten used to being in new places, but employee housing, it pretty much makes you feel at home because you’re with your company,” he said. “You’ve got everything you need.”

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The companies which house their employees also have everything they need – employees very close by to help ensure their operations run smoothly.

“If you’re going to run a first-class operation, you have to have employees accessible and close by,” Ruther said. “It’s an important operational need being met for these hotel by having employee housing units on-site.”

What also makes Kufrovich feel at home is the fact that the Gorsuches, whom he had met several times while working at a Four Seasons in Hawaii, have welcomed him to Vail. They’ve visited him and gone out to dinner together a couple of times.

“They’ve been really wonderful to me,” Kufrovich said. “They’ve helped me feel at home since I don’t have family or anything here.”

Kufrovich had never heard of employee housing before coming to Vail. The places he has lived, which also include Los Angeles, have so much housing inventory that the term is unfamiliar to Kufrovich.

“I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect,” he said.

Kufrovich is lucky in that the Four Seasons, which just opened this winter, built its 24 housing units on-site. So rather than taking the bus to work every morning, he simply walks out of front door and up a short flight of stairs to get to work.

His unit is simple and modest, but cozy. It’s a dormitory-style room, with a bunk bed, and a sink and microwave in a small enclave that substitutes for a kitchen.

There are two small desks with chairs in the room, and a nice flat-screen television that came with the unit. A Playstation video game system is one of his many personal touches in the room.

For employee housing, these are not bad digs.

“I was trying to find other housing, but as soon as I found out there was employee housing, I said, ‘I want to live there,'” Kufrovich said.

The location meant he could leave his car in storage back in Orlando because he can walk everywhere. He doesn’t even need to go to the grocery store, because he can eat all three of his daily meals in the employee cafeteria.

Jennifer Nicholas, the Four Seasons human resources manager, said the resort is trying to keep the employee housing benefit flexible for people. She said they’re not looking to lock employees into long-term leases.

“We’ve had people want to stay a couple of weeks to the entire season and beyond,” Nicholas said.

The benefit is also great for those who are transferring from other Four Seasons properties and are looking for more long-term housing but don’t want to commit until they’ve looked around.

“Flexibility is kind of the key,” Nicholas said.

For now, Kufrovich doesn’t have a roommate – he knocks on wood when asked about living in his employee apartment by himself.

Once a roommate moves in, the space could get a little cramped, but even then he thinks he’ll still feel at home. After all, he can’t really find many reasons to complain about living in a location where many pay millions to live.

“As land becomes more scarce in the town of Vail, the importance of partnering with the private sector in getting these units built on-site, is just that much more important,” Ruther said. “There’s no doubt these units could be sold for higher prices as real estate, but the town has made the decision that housing is an important asset to this community, and it’s dollar for dollar just as valuable as some of the real estate it sits on.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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