Big plans in store for operations at Beaver Creek
If it gets the green light, the proposal would cause a lot of dominos to tumble into new locations, both slopeside and elsewhere. Making sure they tumble in the right direction is the job of Bob McIlveen, director of special projects for Vail Resorts.
Work on the $9 million, 20,000-square-foot facility and some additional buildings on the West Lot could begin as soon as the ski season ends, says McIlveen. The proposed facility would lie within both the Bachelor Gulch Metro District and the larger Beaver Creek planned unit development, so it will need to receive design approval from the Beaver Creek Design Review Board and a building permit from Eagle County.
If approved, that facility could be completed in about 15 months, he says. Then the existing vehicle and chairlift maintenance facility on Dally Road, above the Beaver Creek Chapel, would be relocated further uphill to another new, $5 million, 7,000-square-foot facility near Beaver Creek’s main water tank, below Red Tail Camp.
The new, consolidated facilities would result in a reduction of vehicles using Beaver Creek’s Village Road. A number of resort-related vehicle departments, including about 200 buses and other vehicles would begin using the new facility on Highway 6. The traffic on Village Road for years has been a point of contention between Vail Resorts and residents of the gated community, who say they’d prefer fewer vehicles.
The 400 parking spaces at the West Lot lost to the new facility, meanwhile, would be relocated either to the undeveloped 16-acre Confluence site, immediately west of Avon’s Burger King, or to a new parking lot overlooking the new facility on what’s now the West Lot.
“We’re still wrestling with which one of those we will do,” says McIlveen.
The facilities being abandoned above Beaver Creek Chapel sit on 3.5 acres that may be redeveloped, McIlveen says, as Beaver Creek homeowner John Galvin has an option to develop that property.
Yet another facility near The Tarnes employee housing facility – dubbed “Tin City” because of its rickety, tin-roofed buildings – also would be consolidated into the new facility. That property would serve as a station for the proposed $30 million Beaver Creek gondola from the Confluence in Avon to Bachelor Gulch and Strawberry Park.
“Tin City,” McIlveen says, is zoned to hold up to 100 fractional-fee condominiums.
Then there’s plans for the Confluence, which contain a hotel, commercial space and some residential housing. That may be presented to the town of Avon as early as this summer, McIlveen says.
The redevelopment and consolidation is not a new idea. Beaver Creek implemented a civic assessment last spring to fund its portion of the facility and also to pay down debt on the Vilar Center. Cost of the new facility on the West Lot would be shared by The Beaver Creek Metropolitan District, Beaver Creek Resort, Smith Creek Metro District, the Bachelor Gulch Village Association and Vail Resorts, McIlveen says. The land would be sold to a limited liability corporation made up of the various stakeholders.
“I’ve been working on this off and on since 1990,” McIlveen says. “We’re running out of room up top. That facility was never meant to see the use it has now. It will also clean up “Tin City.’ It’s like a Third World facility.”
McIlveen says the new buildings would house vehicle maintenance, lift operations and maintenance, warehouses, a bus-washing facility and parking for company vehicles.
Complicating the whole scenario, of course, is the as-yet undetermined development schedule of the Confluence. If that’s developed sooner than later, the parking picture muddies, McIlveen says. But the town of Avon has required Vail Resorts to build a bridge across the Eagle River to access the property, as well as a roundabout on Highway 6. That’s causing Vail Resorts to be deliberate in its planning.
“It will cost us several million just to get onto the land,” says McIlveen.
The new facility would be camouflaged by a big berm and trees, says McIlveen.
“All you’ll see will be the berm and a couple of nice buildings,” he says.
Avon Town Manager Larry Brooks says the parking issue will require a significant planning effort.
“If it’s planned properly, it can be a good thing because it will bring people closer to the core of town,” he says. “If not, the town of Avon will inherit a parking problem.”
Avon also would lose the maintenance contract it holds with Beaver Creek’s Dial A Ride because that also would move to the new facility.
“Everything is coming together on all fronts,” McIlveen says. “We’ve got to do something.”
Another domino involves moving Vail Resorts’ central warehouse in Lionshead to its Mountain Center building on Nottingham Road in Avon.
Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.