Avon wants developer’s land
AVON – Avon will be using its condemnation powers to purchase land for a new bus hub in a section of downtown marked for revitalization.It’s eyeing about one-third of an acre between Benchmark Road and the railroad tracks. The land is owned by developer Al Williams’ ATS Joint Venture, which built the Avon Town Square that’s home to the Slifer, Smith & Frampton Center and other buildings.Williams, his attorney and an architect attended an Avon Town Council meeting last week, but did not speak during the meeting. He did not return phone calls made for comment.When government condemns land it must offer the owner a price based on an independent appraisal that represents fair market value of the property. Avon last used its condemnation power to acquire pieces of property needed for the expanded Avon Road right of way in the mid-1990s. It is using the same law firm that did the condemnations for Denver’s huge TREX transportation corridor.Triggering the move by the council is the new sales contract for now-vacant Lot 61, just east of the Seasons Building that houses Vail Resorts. Lot 61 could accommodate a 220,000 square-foot building, said town building officials. Lot B, north of Lot 61, can hold an additional 150,000 square feet. That’s nearly three times the size of the nearby eight-story tall Lodge at Avon Center.
Wave of development?That will begin a domino-like effect of new construction and redevelopment around the new downtown, said Avon Town Manager Larry Brooks. Anticipated in the rejuvenation is construction of a gondola to carry skiers from Bachelor Gulch to Avon, with its base at the Confluence development just south of the proposed transit hub. By connecting with the ski slopes, prices of retail property in Avon are expected to surge, building officials said. A proposed “Main Street” would run east-west, more or less parallel to the existing Benchmark Road. “We need to move this transportation hub the minute we begin to work on Main Street,” Brooks said.The new development and revitalization of downtown will increase the demand for buses, Brooks said.
Avon’s existing transportation hub, outside the Avon Center, consists of a bus shelter and turnaround that can accommodate three buses, only one of which can enter or leave at one time, Brooks said.”We need buses to be able to enter and leave independently,” he said, adding that the new hub, which will be built 100 yards southwest of the existing one, will have that capacity. Enticing atmosphereWork could begin as soon as this summer, he said. Across the street in the development planned for Lot 61, the town wants a small transportation office to sell tickets and to display bus schedules.When Avon began redesigning its downtown to include a quarter-mile-long pedestrian mall that lies west of Avon Road, it discovered the need for a central focus – one that kept people in town – instead of driving through town, town leaders say.
“We need to make it visibly enticing,” said Avon Mayor Ron Wolfe in an earlier interview. The town core’s revitalization will add approximately 500,000 square feet of commercial and residential space in the center of 26-year-old Avon. It could also provide parking. The town wants to build a parking structure next to the Avon Recreation Center. Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or firstname.lastname@example.orgVail, Colorado
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