Vail Town Council nearing agreement on Booth Heights alternative
Council could vote Jan. 19 on predevelopment agreement
Pieces may be falling into place to avoid the prospect of building workforce housing on the Booth Heights site in East Vail.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson Tuesday announced that the Vail Town Council on Jan. 19 will get its first public look at a predevelopment agreement with Triumph Development to build housing on a town-owned site just east of the the Middle Creek Village apartments. That site is on the north side of Interstate 70, near the main Vail interchange.
Triumph still has a purchase contract with Vail Resorts, the parcel’s owner, to build housing on a site on the north side of I-70 near the East Vail interchange. If the deal with the town goes through, Triumph won’t build on the East Vail site.
When the effort to find alternatives began in January of 2020, the town, Triumph and Vail Resorts were all involved. Vail Resorts pulled out of the talks recently, but Robson said the town and Triumph alone can make the Middle Creek proposal work.
As presented, the Middle Creek site could accommodate between 50 and 65 units, roughly the same number proposed for the Booth Heights site.
Vail Housing Director George Ruther told councilmembers that the site has several built-in advantages. There’s existing vehicular access, and there’s an existing building pad for the current Children’s Garden of Learning — which will move this year to a temporary site on the southeast side of the Lionshead Parking Structure.
Parking will be limited to only about one vehicle per unit, but Ruther said that thanks to easy walking access to Vail Village and Lionshead, as well as easy access to the town’s bus service, many of the cars parked at the 142-unit Middle Creek Village are essentially stored there.
The project as envisioned — it isn’t yet final — would have residences on four stories above one level of covered parking. That building height is still lower than what exists at Middle Creek Village.
Ruther said the project could include solar panels to generate electricity, and south-facing units would have “solar gain” to help heat the units in the winter.
The current idea also includes storage along with the covered parking.
Much of the work for the planned housing project will take place within already existing retaining walls and setbacks from North Frontage Road.
The entire structure could be as large as 56,000 square feet, which adds up to roughly 56 units, depending on type.
Councilmember Brian Stockmar, a critic of the original Booth Heights plan, said the plan “makes sense to me.”
Councilmembers could vote on the predevelopment agreement at the Jan. 19 meeting. To allow public review of the proposal, the agreement has been posted on the town’s website.
• October, 2019: The Vail Town Council upholds the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission’s approval for housing at Booth Heights.
• January, 2020: Councilmembers agree to look for alternatives to Booth Heights.
• July, 2020: Councilmembers get their first look at those alternatives.
• January, 2021: The town of Vail and Triumph Development prepare a pre-development agreement for a site at Middle Creek.
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