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Developer readies to demolish Vail Village Inn

Wren Wertin
Vail Daily/Ken LawdermilkOne of Vail's first hotels, the landmark Vail Village Inn, nears demolition as it's owner, Waldir Prado, prepares to demolish the structure and make way for the $110 million, five-star Vail Plaza hotel.
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The developer’s new hotel is slated to be built on the site of the Vail Village Inn, one of Vail’s first hotels. Tell-tale signs indicate the five-star hotel might become a reality in the near future.

“We will start demolishing now,” Prado says. “It’s 100 percent tear down, and we will open the new hotel in November 2005.”

Several of the inn’s rooms are rented to locals for employee housing. This is possible due to a housing permit. On April 23, Connie Dorsey, the Village Inn’s property manager, submitted a request for a renewal to the permit, said Suzanne Silverthorn, communications director for the town of Vail. Last week, Dorsey withdrew the application she said. The upshot is, without the permit, they can’t rent rooms.

The owner of Club Chelsea, also in the Vail Village Inn, received notice last week her lease was terminated, requiring her to vacate by the end of this month.

To begin razing the building, Prado needs at the very least a demolition permit, said Vail’s community development director, Russell Forrest. To demolish and then build the approved hotel, he’ll need a building permit, he said, and before that application gets the green light from the town he must meet several conditions.

“It will take a significant level of commitment to address the 38 conditions,” Forrest said.

After dealing with those concerns, Forrest said, Prado then has to submit his approved plans. From that point, it would take approximately three weeks for final approval for a building permit, provided his application was complete.

After spending 20 months in court with a former Gateway resident cranky about the proposed plan, Prado said he feels he’s in the home stretch.

The new hotel will have an Italian flavor, he said.

“Why that?” he asked. “Because everybody likes the Italian flavor. It’s only rational. Everybody loves Italy, everybody in the world.”

Prado also owns the site now occupied Chateau at Vail, now slated to be the Vail Plaza West with a French flair. The international Four Seasons hotel chain is set to operate there. In this way, Prado said he hopes to round out all “the Alpists,” as the Bavarian, Swiss and Austrian Alps are represented by Sonnenalp hotels.

“Somebody has to start,” he said. “And I hope I’ll get the credit for it.”

In addition to the new Vail Plaza Hotel and Chateau, both the Sonnenalp and the Tivoli are in the process of redeveloping their existing hotels. He doesn’t see hotels in Vail as being in competition with each other.

“People like to go where people are,” he explained. “If you have more, you have more people. I don’t think we have a limit of demand. The demand is basically based on what we offer.”

He also said he feels the retail businesses located around the proposed project will thrive because of the hotel, not in spite of it.

“That’s why I’m demolishing and getting started,” he said. “All of the retail businesses, the art galleries, they depend on operations like ours will be.”

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.


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