April Fool’s: Builder eyes worker ‘kennels’ | VailDaily.com

April Fool’s: Builder eyes worker ‘kennels’

Chelda Oslo
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL ” Employee housing-schmousing. Or is that schnauzer? Either way, if developer Kevling Hipslong has his way, Eagle County employees may find “somewhat affordable” housing in a warren of interconnected “kennels” underneath Bridge Street in Vail.

Hipslong, who is planning and bankrolling the new “über-Vail” project in downtown Vail ” a multi-billion-dollar development that includes a 1,200-room timeshare hotel, jai-alai arena and roller rink ” said he’s got just enough interest to burrow underneath the foundation and create employee housing. The goal, he says, is to be “realistic.”

“Look, nobody making 30-grand a year is going to be able to buy their own home in Vail, even if it’s a friggin’ broom closet with no running water,” Hipslong told the Vail Town Council Tuesday night. “Let’s call a spade a spade: If you’re cleaning toilets or bumping chairs, you’re going to either commute or live in a box.”

Hipslong said he hopes to create up to 1,000 150-square-foot kennels in the space underneath his development. He will make them available to local employees for what he calls a “true bargain basement price” of $300,000. More than you’d pay in Sioux City, but a smidgen of the $3 million über-Vail’s studios start at.

“I don’t believe in the phrase ‘affordable housing,'” Hipslong told council. “What the hell does that mean? What I could afford would curl your hair, so if someone can buy something, anything in Vail for 300-K, I bet the schmucks jump at the chance.”

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So far, Hipslong’s prediction has proven correct: Since his announcement at the meeting just two days ago, more than 1,500 local “schmucks” have put their names on the waiting list.

Judy Puckmuelerfisk, manager of Hipslong’s real estate company über-Vail ‘N You, said some people have even started trying to bid for spots on the waiting list.

“People are paying up to $5,000 for a spot,” she said. “It’s kind of sad, if you think about it. My shoe closet is bigger than these places.”

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