Vail starts the clock on Timber Ridge
Town wants replacement in place by late 2025
The Timber Ridge apartments for 40 years have provided deed-restricted housing for local workers. It’s probably time to start over.
The Vail Town Council started the conversation Tuesday about how to replace the 96 units on the town-owned site on the north side of Interstate 70 roughly halfway between the Main Vail and West Vail interchanges. That replacement will require some new thinking.
The first new thought is size.
In a memo to the council, Vail Housing Director George Ruther recommends the town “seize the full opportunity.”
Given the property’s location and the fact it’s fully owned by the town, the memo recommends a minimum of 200 units, more than double the existing unit count.
More units, less parking
To do that, the town will have to rethink its parking requirements. Council members stressed that the new complex should be more “mobility” oriented, meaning residents should have less need for private cars and trucks.
As a start on the new project’s sustainability efforts, it will be 100% electric, have a solar array installation and public transit improvements, including a car share program.
Council member Jonathan Staufer also recommended phasing the project in order to reduce displacement of current residents.
Added Council member Travis Coggin: “This doesn’t do us any good if we make 240 people homeless.”
Part of figuring out density, mobility and phasing questions will come via a market study, expected to begin early this year.
No matter what direction the study leads the town to take, timing will also be important.
Ruther told council members that the goal for the new project is to be open for renters by Nov. 1, 2025. That seems like a long time, Ruther said, but added “there’s a lot of work to do” to get the project designed, approved through the town’s process and built.
One of the biggest questions is what company will do the work.
The town has a couple of options.
One is to open up the job to the world via a request for qualifications, followed by a request for proposals.
The other is to work with Triumph Development. That firm built the Chamonix townhomes in West Vail and is building the Residences at Main Vail project. That project, near the main Vail I-70 interchange, started work in 2021, with tenants moving in by 2023.
That project could help house some of the people displaced.
Council members won’t make the decision on a partner for at least a couple of weeks.
While Triumph was given the first opportunity at the $70 million project during negotiations for the Residences at Main Vail project, Town Attorney Matt Mire said the town isn’t obligated to go with Triumph first.
The company has come under fire in the past, most recently for the Residences at Main Vail design, which some residents said isn’t consistent with the town’s image.
But Council member Pete Seibert said the town’s history wasn’t great with requests for proposals at Timber Ridge. When the town was looking to redevelop the eastern half of the 10-acre property — a project that’s become the Lions Ridge apartments — Seibert noted that the first firm selected for the work went a bit more than a year before determining it couldn’t do the project.
Seibert noted the town has been successful with Triumph as a partner, which brings the chance of a stronger probability of success than with a new firm.
Coggin also noted that Triumph “has been a pretty good partner. … I believe they’re more than qualified.”
That, though, is a conversation for a different meeting, but the clock has begun ticking toward late 2025.
Property size: 4.8 acres.
Current units: 96, 36 of which are master leased to Vail Resorts
Year constructed: 1981
Owned by: Town of Vail