Eagle River Station hasn’t stalled | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Station hasn’t stalled

EAGLE, Colorado ” After a number of weeks between meetings and a couple of continued public hearings, people around Eagle, Colorado have been asking if RED Development is losing interest in the Eagle River Station project.

Not a bit, says Mike Hans of RED Development.

“I want to assure you we remain committed,” said Hans during at a recent Eagle River Station meeting. The session was originally listed as a view of plan specifics such as lighting and signs, but instead Hans offered a brief update and the town board continued the hearing until today.

During his comments, Hans addressed the issue of a volatile national economy and its effects on the retail sector.

“We are at the forefront of what’s going on nationally,” Hans said. “We understand now is not the time to be building this project. Fortunately, today we are not building.”

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Hans noted that under optimal conditions, Eagle River Station couldn’t start construction until late 2009 or 2010. Under that scenario, he said the development would be poised to come on line when many economists predict the country will begin to rebound.

“We are not slowing down the approval process because of the economic climate,” said Hans.

Jan Rosenthal-Townsend of Citizens for Eagle, a local group opposed to the Eagle River Station plan, questioned RED’s reasoning. “Many recent national articles all say retail and large department stores will never be the same,” said Rosenthal-Townsend. “The numbers RED have show us will be much lower due to consumers changing their habits.”

During the meeting, town board members noted area residents are getting a bit frustrated with how long the Eagle River Station hearing process is taking.

“Nobody is trying to delay anything,” said Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell. He noted the Eagle Ranch review process stretched over three years.

“And Adam’s Rib was 30 years,” quipped Eagle Town Board member Roxie Deane.

Powell said he has been meeting with RED representatives regularly to hammer out plan specifics. He said staff is making progress regarding several issues and both the town and RED agreed to continue the hearings until March 18.

“To continue this on a weekly basis isn’t working,” said Mayor Ed Woodland. “Everyone said it was too fast to begin with and now we have slowed it down.”

But town board members expressed their wishes to work through the outstanding issues and proceed to a decision.

“I wanted a decision by Thanksgiving, I had to let that go,” said Woodland.

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