Eagle-Vail apartments upgrade in full swing | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail apartments upgrade in full swing

Scott N. Miller smiller@vaildaily.com

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – Stan Koenig can’t wait to move back home.

Koenig moved into the Riverview apartments in Eagle-Vail about 20 years ago, when the complex was still almost new. Over years, countless tenants have come and gone, and the apartments slowly started to look their age and then some.

Over the last several years, most of the apartments’ interiors were renovated as tenants moved out, but the exterior started looking, well, shabby.

That’s going to change over the next several months. Eagle County, which owns the complex, recently completed a complex deal to pay for a roughly $6 million renovation project. The upgrades will be paid mostly with state and federal funds.

During construction, Riverview tenants were all moved to other apartment complexes around the valley, while still paying the income-adjusted rent they’d paid at Riverview. Tenants at the apartments are the valley’s lower-income workers, and qualify for reduced rent under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 rules.

Koenig said he’s excited to see the work start, and is already eager to move back. Linda Sneath, another 20-year resident, said she’s also happy to see her home receive some needed upgrades.

“It’s fabulous they’re getting something done,” Sneath said. “Our electric bills have been so high. I’m hoping the new stucco siding will help that.”

The work at Riverview is mostly on the exterior. The old wooden siding is being replaced with stucco and about 50 percent more insulation in the outside walls.

Megan Gilman of Active Energies said her company tested the old buildings before work started Aug. 10. She found that the units already had energy-efficient doors and windows. That’s a good start, she said. The additional insulation will make tenants’ electric bills a little easier to handle.

The stair towers to the apartments – long criticized for being dark, cramped and kind of creepy – are also being torn out and replaced with steel-framed towers protected with cedar siding that will let in at least some outside light.

Besides the work to the apartments’ exteriors, there’s going to be plenty of work done to the outside. The old parking lot, for instance, drained toward the buildings, and there was just one storm sewer grate in the center of the lot. The new parking area will have 30 drains, none of which are anywhere near the buildings.

There’s going to be plenty of new landscaping, too, although project superintendent Larry Utzig said there may need to be some sort of fund-raising drive to pay for new playground equipment at the apartments.

Whitney Goulden lives across the Eagle River from Riverview. She attended a Tuesday tour of the property, and had a chance to look at plans and see what kind of work is being done at the site.

“It’s a huge improvement visually,” Goulden said. “It’s going be a great change in the living situation for a lot of people.”

Goulden added that she was also impressed with what she’d seen on the small sample of stucco siding on one of the buildings.

While talking about the apartments during the tour, Eagle County Commissioner Sara Fisher said the apartments have provided a good first step for a lot of local residents, many of whom have become permanent valley residents over the years.

Hector Ordonez moved into Riverview with his family when he was a schoolboy. Now a college graduate, Ordonez was hired as the complex manager shortly before the renovation work started.

“I’m really looking forward to this,” Ordonez said. “This work is going to make (Riverview) a great place to live again.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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