Daily Editorial: Nothing easy with Timber Ridge
Vail CO, Colorado
What to do with Timber Ridge? The affordable-housing complex has proved pricey for Vail at every turn, from the $20 million purchase in 2003 to the millions spent getting rid of mold and now a repair estimate of nearly $2.5 million.
Meantime, some residents have expressed a preference for tents over the 198 run-down apartments spread over 10 acres. Windows popping out. Roofs leaking. Rafters bowed. Cement crumbling. It’s actual blight and not simply a paper ruse to set up a tax district, as the town has done in Lionshead.
Town leaders are negotiating with the Texas developer who would like to transform the Lionshead parking structure into hotels and shops to also rebuild Timber Ridge.
It would be great for the community if they are able to work a viable deal to accomplish both. But there are no guarantees at this point that this will happen.
The tough part is that the town may well need to spend money on the current complex’s repairs even as plans are laid to scrape the dump and build anew.
Vail must have its largest affordable rental complex operating, given the dearth of such places in town and indeed the entire valley.
Of course, when the time comes to rebuild Timber Ridge, there’s that matter of finding alternate housing for the 800 or so people who stay there now.
The developer proposes to double the number of people who can live at Timber Ridge with apartments for rent and deed-restricted condos for sale.
It seems the town has been at a disadvantage since buying the complex, although that clearly was the right thing to do. Maybe the higher value is to make this deal work sooner rather than later, even if it’s not perfect, and move on.
Even if the town “loses” a little, Vail will come out ahead in the long run.
” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board