Avon’s Beaver Bench condo residents finally returning home | VailDaily.com

Avon’s Beaver Bench condo residents finally returning home

Fire in 2018, plus lengthy restoration, has kept residents out of the their units

Eddy Cotton, BluSky Restoration's project manager on the Beaver Bench condos project, checks the work done so far. Residents are starting to move back into units following a fire in 2018.

AVON — A long saga for several residents of the Beaver Bench condos is coming to an end.

That saga began Aug. 25, 2018, with a serious kitchen fire in one of the 22 units in one of the buildings. Six of the units were completely gutted, with most of the rest suffering various levels of smoke damage. Several unit owners or renters were able to return to their homes in a few months, but more work needed to be done.

When BluSky Restoration was brought into the project in May of this year, there was much work that still needed to be done. In fact, all 22 units had to be vacated again to make way for an extensive restoration project. That project is only now in its final stages.

Jennifer Weintraub of BluSky said the firm had to go through all 22 units. Acting as a general contractor, all of those units in the late-1970s vintage building had to be brought back up to current building codes.

That required a lot of work. In many cases, drywall had to be removed from walls and ceilings. In addition, a number of owners asked for upgrades to their units. That work was hired out to a number of local subcontractors.

It’s been a big job.

Eddy Cotton, BluSky’s project manager, said just about every unit’s interior was different. That complicated things. So did owner-requested upgrades.

Weintraub said one of the biggest challenges was working with insurance companies. Homeowners had their own insurance, but the homeowners association also has insurance. Weintraub said with condos, everything from the paint on the walls into the unit is covered by an owner’s insurance. Everything else is covered by the association.

Then there was the added expense and complication of relocating all the owners and renters.

Weintraub said the length of the repair and renovation project exceeds many insurance companies’ relocation allowances. That’s something that has to be negotiated. Weintraub said BluSky has been working with various insurers to cover those added expenses.

‘There’s been a lot of moving’

John Brenner is one of the owners who had to relocate. Brenner said he’s owned his Beaver Bench unit for a number of years, but only returned to the valley in 2018 after several years living elsewhere. He’d only been back in his place for a short time when the fire occurred.

Brenner has actually had to move out twice. The first time, his place was put under quarantine, and he was able to get out with little more than his phone. The first restoration company on the job took clothing, electronics and other personal effects and put them into storage.

Brenner, along with other residents, was able to move back in for a couple of months. When BluSky took over and determined the job had to be a top-to-bottom restoration, he had to move out again.

Since May of this year, Brenner has been at the Wyndham in Avon.

Those are condos, and Brenner said those accommodations were fine. But, he said, he missed his own possessions.

“All my fishing stuff was in storage,” he said.

Weintraub said the goal now is to have most people back this month, with everyone moved back into their units by the end of the year.

That’s been a relief for those moving back in, she said.

“There’s been a lot of moving,” Brenner said. “I call it the years of the suitcase.”

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