Builder pushes Vail to sell Timber Ridge |

Builder pushes Vail to sell Timber Ridge

Special to the Daily/Town of VailA Texas developer has a plan to redevelop part of the Timber Ridge complex into new, bigger apartments.

VAIL ” A Texas developer’s proposal to rebuild Timber Ridge has evolved again, with the builder now offering to buy about two-thirds of the 10-acre property from the town for $13.2 million.

Open Hospitality Partners/Hillwood Capital ” led in part by the scion of H. Ross Perot, the former presidential candidate ” has a plan to rebuild part of Timber Ridge into 316 apartments that could house 1,264 workers.

The renovations to Timber Ridge are part of the Texas group’s $600 million plan to transform the Lionshead parking structure into condos, timeshares, a conference center, stores, restaurants, a bus station and even more parking.

Timber Ridge is the largest affordable housing complex in this resort town, which has long struggled with providing enough homes for its workers.

Mark Masinter of Open Hospitality Partners pushed the town to proceed Tuesday, presenting a timeline that had the town selling the property in February, with construction set to start in the spring of 2009.

“I can’t urge you enough to get your arms around the issue,” he said. “We need to start immediately.”

In an earlier proposal, Masinter offered to buy the entire complex for $22 million and build for-sale condos, but those plans have been eliminated.

The developer wants to buy the land ” worth millions ” from the town, instead of signing a long-term lease. That left some council members unsettled.

“I’m just not real comfortable selling the land,” said Councilman Kevin Foley.

Other council members wanted to study the property and find out how much it is worth.

The developer’s proposal calls for four-story buildings. Councilwoman Margaret Rogers wondered whether a high-rise complex of six stories or more would be more appropriate.

The town bought the 10-acre affordable housing complex for $20 million in 2003 and, following mold removal, has $22 million in debt on the property. In addition, the apartments need significant repairs ” amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years ” if they aren’t torn down.

Mayor Dick Cleveland said he needs more details on Masinter’s plan.

“I need to understand why this makes sense,” he said.

Masinter said he will come back to the Town Council in a month to give Vail more details about the proposal.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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