Chapel Square to get new image |

Chapel Square to get new image

Cliff Thompson

A multi-faceted approach involving marketing, recruitment of some large anchor tenants, some new signs and a different coat of paint are in store, says Kevin Dieghan of Vail-based Timberline Commercial Management, which assumed management of the massive, 287,000-square-foot project on May 1. The paint job, which along will cost “several hundred thousand dollars,”

should begin this summer.

“We want to create a place where people want to go,” Dieghan said.

Chapel Square has met with mixed success since it was built in 1999.

Developer Leo Palmos relinquished control of the project in October after a foreclosure by his lender on a $22.5 million loan. The property reverted to his partner in the project, Lehman Brothers of New York.

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Lehman Brothers, in turn, Timberline to lease and manage the center, which has experienced a checkered development and leasing history.

The sale of its 67 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments was very successful. Buyers have snapped up all but a few, and several have already entered the resale market. But commercial spaces on the ground floor have been relatively unpopular with retailers.

The butterscotch color of the building is highly visible, but not aesthetically pleasing to some folks, Dieghan said. Timberline has hired an image consultant to help “reposition” the complex.

“We’re trying to get over the (negative) image,” said Dieghan.

What makes the project attractive is its location, Dieghan added. It will be highly visible to residents of and visitors to the proposed 1,800-acre Village at Avon, east of downtown. The Village will include a new Wal-Mart Superstore, a Home Depot and about 300,000 more square feet of commercial space.

In additional to the two new new Chapel Square buildings, Timberline also will manage the old Wal-Mart shopping center and the Wal-Mart building itself.

He said the fact that the project appears to be underutilized provides some opportunity.

So far the commercial retail space at Chapel Square is about 80 percent leased; the office space is approximately 65 percent leased. Two years ago, Agency.Com, an international Web marketing and design company, closed its Avon offices at Chapel Square. The company, however, continues to pay rent even though most of the space is unoccupied.

Timberline’s Greg Gastineau, meanwhile, said getting the mix of tenants is key to making the project work as a regional draw to shoppers.

“You’ve got to have tenants that will complement each other,” he said.

It is the second time Lehman Brothers and Dieghan have worked together.

Last year Timberline and realtor Ron Byrne purchased 18,000 square feet of the Gateway building’s 32,400 square feet in Vail and converted it

to 11 offices and three residential units. So far that has had some pleasing results, said Dieghan. Six of the offices are occupied and one of the three residential units has been sold. The additional commercial activity is welcome in Vail where flagging sales taxes have impacted town budgets.

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