Changing hands |

Changing hands

Tom Boyd

If the past is any indication, there is still plenty of wrangling to look forward to with the Gilman development.The land is made up of a collection of old mining claims, originally pieced together by two Denver attorneys: Jim Aronstein and Michael Page. The pair created a group called Turkey Creek, LLC, and quilted the land together with hopes of development in the early 1990s. Turkey Creek partnered with Vail Resorts in 1992 (Vail had a 50 percent option on the parcel), and plans were drawn up for development of the area around Bolt’s Lake as early as 1994.But Vail Resorts backed away from their plans to help develop the area during their push to develop Blue Sky Basin, also known as Category III. Environmental groups were criticizing Vail Resorts at the time, and alleged that Vail Resorts was planning to connect Blue Sky to the Gilman parcel as part of a future high-end, gated development with private access to Vail Mountain (Ginn, for his part, denied harboring any plans to connect his proposed private ski resort to Vail Mountain during a Feb. 16 Minturn Town Council meeting).The dissonance of protest eventually became catastrophic when Vail’s Two Elk Lodge was torched in 1998. Turkey Creek’s Aronstein wanted to use a proposed conservation easement (on the upper reaches of the Gilman plot) as leverage to connect the Bolt’s Lake development to Blue Sky Basin, but Vail apparently backed off plans to develop the area.Turkey Creek ruffled Vail’s feathers with a lawsuit filed in November of 1999. The suit claimed that Vail had repudiated its 1992 contract by, “not committing to prompt and diligent development of the property,” (Vail Trail, Sept. 26, 2003 edition).On Sept. 24, 2003, Judge David Lass struck a blow to the ski company when he ruled in favor of Turkey Creek, which removed Vail Resorts from any option to develop the land, or to participate in creating a conservation easement there.In his ruling, Lass wrote that, “contrary to the agreement of the parties, VA used the conservation strategy to advance its own public relations purposes and to enhance its own interests in achieving the Cat III expansion,” (Vail Trail, Sept. 26, 2003 edition).Once Vail Resorts (which had been VA at the onset of the deal) was out of the picture, Turkey Creek was looking to sell. Ginn Development purchased the land for $32.75 million in December, 2004, and brought initial plans for a new development there to the Minturn Town Council Feb. 16. VT– TB

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