Proposal may add employee housing, hotel rooms, condo to Vail Village | VailDaily.com

Proposal may add employee housing, hotel rooms, condo to Vail Village

This artist's rendering shows the north side of the proposed Mountain View Residences in Vail. If approved as proposed, the project, located just east of the Vail Village parking structure, will bring condos, hotel rooms and deed-restricted employee housing to the site.

What’s proposed?

The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission recently approved a proposal for the Mountain View Residences project. That project includes:

• 23 for-sale condominiums.

• 112 parking spaces.

• 19 hotel rooms.

• 10 deed-restricted employee housing units.

• 15 lock-off auxiliary units with the condos.

Source: Vail Town Council presentation, June 20

VAIL — Ron Byrne lives in Vail Village and sees the same handful of people every day. He hopes to have more neighbors in the not-too-distant future.

Byrne a decade ago built a parking structure east of the Vail Village parking structure. The idea always was to build some sort of lodging or condo project atop the structure. It's taken years since the nationwide economic slump that began in 2008 for the garage to once again become a desirable development site.

The site now has been proposed for a project called the Mountain View Residences, a combination of condos, hotel rooms and rental housing for full-time residents.

The project recently was approved by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission. But the project as proposed requires changes to the town's zoning code. For the project to go forward, the Vail Town Council will have to approve what's called a Special Development District. That will require two votes to approve the plan.

The first of those votes could come as soon as July 11.

Planner Dominic Mauriello, who's working for developer Peter Carlson, said the special designation is needed for a couple of reasons.

First, neither of the immediate neighbors of the property — The Wren and the Apollo Park condos — meets current zoning, so even matching those properties would require exemptions.

An 'unprecedented' proposal

Then there's what's proposed.

After working with town officials, the current proposal would dedicate nearly 40 percent of the project's floor area to employee-housing units.

"That's unprecedented in Vail Village," Mauriello said.

Mauriello said the Mountain View Residences is patterned after the Limelight Hotel in Aspen. Hotel guests can stay for several nights in a low-frills lodge. There's no restaurant or spa, for instance, but everything in Vail Village is a few minutes' walk away.

While hotel rooms and employee housing are highly desired by town officials, Mauriello said the project's profit will come from the condos.

Vail Local Housing Authority Chairman Steve Lindstrom said the apartments at Mountain View Residences will probably be popular with people who work at Vail Valley Medical Center.

"A lot of those people have to be sprinting distance from their jobs," Lindstrom said.

The housing authority in the past year drafted, and received town council approval for, a strategic housing plan that calls for Vail to add 1,000 deed-restricted rental and for-sale units by 2027. Those restrictions help ensure units remain available to full-time residents. It's an ambitious plan, but one that seems off to a solid start.

The plan's first year

The town earlier this year approved a special development district for a Marriott Residence Inn in West Vail that will add nearly 100 deed-restricted apartments to the town's inventory. Combine that with the 32 for-sale units being built in West Vail along Chamonix Lane, and the strategic plan has had a good first year.

The Mountain View project would add 10 deed-restricted employee housing units.

The project has already earned a good bit of support from neighbors and others.

The homeowner associations at both The Wren and Apollo Park have written letters of support to the town. The Vail Valley Partnership, the valleywide chamber of commerce, has also written in support of the plan.

In addition to the apartments — a studio, a one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom, two-bath units —the condos would have another 15 lock-off units that could be used for rentals, although owners will be able to decide those uses.

"In some cases, owners stay in the lock-offs and rent out their condos," Mauriello said.

If Mountain View is built as currently proposed, then Byrne said the project could have broader effects.

"If this works, we'll look at other sites and maybe bring that idea to those," Byrne said.

It's something Byrne looks forward to, especially if he gets to see a few more familiar faces on his morning walks through Vail Village.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.