Chamonix marketing set to begin soon | VailDaily.com

Chamonix marketing set to begin soon

VAIL — If a new townhome project in Vail breaks ground in late April, then it will have been around three years since the idea of building homes on town-owned land in West Vail resurfaced. The plan has changed dramatically throughout that time period.

The town bought the property along Chamonix Road in 2002, and always envisioned the land as a site for some kind of workforce housing. When the idea to build on the site resurfaced in earnest in 2014, the idea was for as many as 70 deed-restricted homes on the 3.6-acre site.

The idea changed almost immediately at that first meeting, from a high-density neighborhood to a more family-oriented project. The number of homes continued to fall as the council considered building what's likely the last planned family neighborhood in town.

The plan now stands at 32 townhome units, with a mixture of two- and three-bedroom homes. Those homes will range in size from roughly 1,100 square feet to almost 2,000. Current pricing covers a range between the low $400,000s and the low $700,000s. Individuals and families earning between 100 and 160 percent of area median income can qualify for mortgages on those homes.

Do you qualify?

The price of the homes has dismayed a number of Vail and valley residents at previous Vail Town Council meetings. Vail Town Council member Kevin Foley wishes there had been more units — and some lower prices in the neighborhood. When he last ran for council in 2015, Foley said he was excited by the potential of the new neighborhood, and said he'd like to put his name into the lottery for those units.

Recommended Stories For You

Now, Foley says he isn't sure whether he'll try to qualify.

"I wish we were getting more families in there," Foley said. "But that's a minority position."

Fellow council member Greg Moffet was on the board that bought the Chamonix property. He said he'd lobbied since then for fewer homes on the site.

"I've said for a long time that if I wouldn't live there, I don't feel comfortable telling someone else they should want to," Moffet said. "You don't preserve a community by packing people in like sardines."

From initial indications, there will still be plenty of applicants for the Chamonix units.

Vail Community Development Department Director George Ruther said there are 412 names on the interested buyer list for the townhomes. Even paring that list down due to financial qualifications and taking the required buyer education courses, there should still be quite a few more buyers than there are available homes.

A different lottery

The lottery to pick those buyers will be different than previous lotteries to sell homes in the town's for-sale housing inventory.

The current system requires applicants to already live in Vail, is weighted toward those who have lived and worked longest in town. That system worked well for some, but participation in the housing lottery has declined in recent years as fewer people apply.

The Vail Town Council last week approved a plan for Chamonix that opens up the lottery to people who live and work in Eagle County. That will open up Chamonix to families that may have moved out of Vail.

Under the system, anyone who can qualify for a mortgage and completes a buyer education class has an equal chance to win the chance to buy a unit.

Ruther said each buyer — whether an individual or a family — will have one entry in the lottery. If a person qualifies to buy one of several unit types, then that person can pick one.

The new lottery system also irks Foley, who said he believes more consideration should have been given to town residents.

Interested buyers will get a more detailed look at the plans and requirements starting Jan. 17, when a marketing plan, including a new website, will launch. That effort will be bolstered by a Jan. 19 open house at which prospective buyers can ask questions and get in-person information.

Vail Local Housing Authority Chairman Steve Lindstrom said he expects good things from the project.

"I think it's going to be a great little neighborhood," Lindstrom said. "A lot of voices had a lot of input on it … That takes a long time to sift through, but it'll end up being a good spot."

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

Mark your calendars:

Jan. 9: The Chamonix townhome project is reviewed by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission.

Jan. 17: A marketing campaign for the project is set to launch.

Jan. 18: The plan is set for its first meeting with the Vail Design Review Board.

Jan. 19: A public open house is set for review. Location to be determined.