Chamonix construction in Vail starts Wednesday, April 12 | VailDaily.com

Chamonix construction in Vail starts Wednesday, April 12

Construction work begins next week on the new Chamonix townhomes in West Vail.

VAIL — The proposed Chamonix development Tuesday earned its final town approval. The project will build 32 deed restricted townhomes on an area acquired by the town in 2003.

Construction is expected to start Wednesday after the Vail Town Council voted unanimously in favor of the development agreement.

"Now the real work starts," said Michael O'Connor with Triumph Development, the development company working with the town on the project.

Triumph put in a request for proposals on the project about a year ago, and reached the point they are now through a lot of hard work by the town — specifically George Ruther and the town's Community Development Department, as well as Town Manager Stan Zemler — O'Connor told the council.

"Last time we were here it was March 7, and it was pretty clear that we needed to get started right now to maintain the schedule and budget," O'Connor said. "It's been an exciting four weeks … we're thrilled to get started."

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Zemler, in his last meeting with the Vail Town Council before leaving his job, said the Community Development Department and Triumph deserve strong acknowledgment for their work in meeting the deadline.

"These guys have been cranking for days on end without a break to try to get us to this place," Zemler said. "So I told George he could have the afternoon off on Sunday."

DESIGN-BUILD

The project will use a design-build delivery system, where the design is still being finished as construction begins. Local firm RA Nelson is the general contractor on the project.

In approving anything using the design-build methodology, council members made it clear that they would need to know how much the project would cost and how long it would take. The total contract price, as approved on Tuesday, is $17.73 million. The first units will be ready by late December for buyers to move in and the final units will be completed by the end of March, 2018, according to the agreement approved Tuesday.

The town will determine who those buyers are through a lottery, which is scheduled to take place on May 3. A total of 91 interested home buyers have qualified for the lottery and will have a chance to purchase one of the 32 townhomes, which will have two- and three-bedroom options. The town is financing the project and will subsidize a cost of $200,000 or more per unit — that subsidy being in land costs and utility and street work — before the townhomes reach a final cost to the buyer of somewhere between $399,000 and $739,000, depending on the unit. Attached to the properties will be a deed restriction stating that the homes cannot be sold at a price exceeding 1.5 percent of the purchase price per year. The final details of the deed restriction are still being worked out.

If Triumph fails to construct the new homes within the schedule, then it will have to pay damages to the town, according to the agreement approved on Tuesday.

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The bulk of the construction is expected to occur off-site using the modular method of home building, which is faster and less expensive. The homes are being built in large sections in a Nebraska factory. Those sections will be trucked to Vail, then assembled on site. The modular pricing, however, turned out to be a little higher than originally anticipated, according to the most recent estimates, O'Connor told the council.

"We can absorb that," O'Connor said. "But at the same time, we did an analysis that said 'What if we did have to site-build this?'"

If Triumph does have to forgo the modular method, then it can kiss any profits goodbye, O'Connor told the council, but the company would likely still be able to meet the schedule and avoid having to pay the town damages. With this contingency plan in mind, the agreement approved by the council contained language that allowed for both on-site and off-site development options.

"If, for some reason, we get left at the altar … we need the flexibility to site build this," O'Connor told the council. "We (would be) basically building this at no profit, at that point."