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Development slows in Eagle County

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Lots that would have been buzzing with the sound of construction equipment this summer in Eagle County, Colorado sit silent, the evidence of a downturn in the economy.

Thanks to leery buyers, and a freeze in the finance markets, several Eagle County projects, from Vail to Gypsum, from workforce housing to high-end condo projects, are delayed or indefinitely stalled. The list includes the West End mixed-use development in Edwards, the workforce Sawatch View condos in Gypsum, and the Roost Lodge redevelopment in Vail.

Besides project delays, there isn’t too much development planned for the near future, said Don Cohen, executive director of the Eagle County Economic Council.



“There’s nothing in the pipelines for approval,” he said. “Nobody is planning to do anything.”

Edward’s West End, a combination of homes, retail and offices planned for the northwest corner of the main Edwards intersection, was supposed to break ground this April. The project included 72 deed-restricted, workforce homes, some of which were slated to be completed in late 2009.



Calls to Midtown Group, the developers of the West End, were not returned, but sources say the project is halted because of financing troubles.

According to the project’s Web site, about half of the workforce homes and only 11 of the 113 market-rate homes have been sold.

Gypsum’s Sawatch View condos, a combination of 72 deed-restricted and free-market homes, are also delayed.



The project is one sale short of breaking ground, said developer Rick Beveridge of Beveridge Real Estate.

Because of slow sales, Beveridge said he decided to build the project in four phases instead.

“All the financing has changed for condos,” he said. “When we first came out, we thought we’d have a waiting list. But because of the economy, and people being unwilling to commit, we’ve scaled back.”

Still, Beveridge said he is optimistic in spite of the floundering economy. The project is one of the few affordable options being built in the area ” one-bedroom, deed-restricted condos start at $173,000 ” and there is a demand, he said.

“It will get better once we’ve got something standing,” he said “I think it’s simply a matter that people can’t feel and touch it. It’s a combination of that and the economy.”

The county’s other workforce housing project, Stratton Flats in Gypsum, is now building it’s first model home. The sales office reports that it has seven homes with completed contracts and 18 reservations.

Redevelopment of West Vail’s Roost Lodge into a condo-Marriott Hotel project is also delayed due to lack of sales.

“Right now, given the lack of financing that many projects like this are facing across the nation, we’re on hold for an indefinite amount of time until we can get a sufficient number of condos sold,” said Kevin Deighan, a member of the redevelopment team. “That’s all I’m going to tell you.”

Cohen said he predicted the development freeze would ease up in the next few financial quarters.

“My sense is that once the credit markets unfreeze, we’ll just have to look at where the national economy is going to be,” he said. “The credit markets will sort themselves out, but obviously, it will all have some effect on us.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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