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A place to be proud of

My wife, two children and I left the East Coast four and a half years ago in search of a permanent residence that would provide us with a quality of life that we could embrace and participate in: great schools, recreation, community, culture, smalltown character and health and safety. We found all of this in Vail. We built a home, enrolled our children in school and looked forward to a slower-paced life in which we could make a difference. Not long after settling into our new life, we received a phone call from the owner of Crossroads asking if we were interested in purchasing the property. For at least 20 years many developers had tried to redevelop this property. We purchased Crossroads and, in doing so, embarked on a journey that would become much more than a real estate investment. We took the responsibility of re-creating the Crossroads site very seriously. Our goal was to create a space that would revitalize the area connecting our neighbors from east to west on Meadow Drive. To that extent, we assembled a team of local experts, as well as nationally recognized specialty design firms who collectively wanted to create a project that gave back to Vail by providing uses, spaces, amenities and entertainment opportunities that would help revitalize a core village economy. It soon became obvious that Crossroads had to be something special, something that would be much more than just a building.After examination of the town’s goals for the village core, we decided that a public plaza was the appropriate instrument for meeting the objectives of all. A large public plaza will open up the pedestrian area created by the intersection of Willow Bridge Road and East Meadow Drive. The plaza will be a haven for picnic lunches, numerous special events such as Street Beat concerts, and ice skating under the stars. From pop-jet fountains to benches constructed from living plant material creating interesting and interactive art, from restaurants to shops, to public art and a free ice skating rink, the design of the plaza is meant to attract locals and guests to Vail Village. It will be available to the public 365 days a year. A 10-lane bowling alley, a three-screen movie theater and an arcade will provide much-needed entertainment for children of all ages. We will be very conscious of the materials we use throughout the project, from the residences to the retail buildings to the public plaza, with a primary emphasis on using the elements of nature. Our goal is to be compatible with the existing beauty of the alpine architecture and environment of the village. It is my deep-seated respect for Vail’s longtime residents and business owners, as well as the alpine mountain environment, which serves as the foundation – in both design and use – for a revitalized Crossroads. But Vail must move forward. This is a sentiment that I think we all share. In designing Solaris – the new name for the development at Vail’s crossroads – we are striving for a project that once completed, will be a place that all of Vail is proud of and enjoys daily. The design of Solaris will be timeless and the benefits unrivaled in all of Vail. The redevelopment of Crossroads was approved as a special development district Tuesday. The purpose of a special development district is to implement “creativity and flexibility.” As a full-time resident of Vail, it is my desire that beginning with Tuesday’s vote we can move forward together to ensure the pulse of Vail only beats stronger as we bring families – guests and locals alike – back to North America’s No. 1 resort community.I apologize that the Crossroads project has, in the past, focused more on the developer than the project. It was never our intention for this to become such a turbulent and drawn-out process. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the development process. It is often difficult for others to be able to see a developer’s vision. If this were an easy project to create, it would have been accomplished years ago. Our vision is to create not just a building, but a community center. Our next step is to meet with Vail’s Design Review Board. During this process, you will be able to examine the multiple unique components of our project as they take shape. I want to thank my friends, my neighbors, fellow business owners and the town council for their input in creating Solaris. My colleagues and I will continue to field your questions or concerns. Feel free to call us at 479-7566. Like the rays of the sun, Solaris will touch and be enjoyed by everyone.Peter Knobel is the principal of Crossroads East One.


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