Vail, Triumph forge initial deal for Middle Creek |

Vail, Triumph forge initial deal for Middle Creek

Residents leery of deal, angry Vail Resorts pursuing East Vail parcel

This artist’s rendering shows what new workforce housing at Middle Creek in Vail might look like.
Daily file photo

The Vail Town Council Tuesday passed a predevelopment agreement with Triumph Development that could lead to building workforce housing on a parcel just east of the Middle Creek Village apartments. The measure passed 6-1, with Councilmember Brian Stockmar opposed.

The issue brought a number of town residents to their computers to weigh in on the topic. Residents also weighed in on a recent letter from Vail Resorts asserting its intent to build workforce housing on the controversial Booth Heights parcel in East Vail.

If the final agreement with Triumph is completed, the company will also redevelop the west half of the Timber Ridge apartments.

If the projects are both built, they would add nearly 250 deed-restricted housing units to town, 144 at Middle Creek and “at least 200” at Timber Ridge.

The Middle Creek parcel comes first, with work at Timber Ridge not starting until Middle Creek is finished.

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Months of work

The agreement passed Tuesday is the preliminary result of more than a year of negotiations and work between the town of Vail and Triumph. The talks originally included Vail Resorts, which owns the Booth Heights parcel. Vail Resorts officially pulled out of those talks in late 2020. Triumph, which had a purchase contract for the East Vail parcel, canceled that contract in late 2020.

The agreement was originally part of an effort to avoid building housing at Booth Creek.

The council in early 2020 agreed to seek alternatives to the project.

The council at its Jan. 19 meeting put off voting on the agreement, delaying the vote until Tuesday.

Residents who reviewed the agreement had several complaints about it, chief among them that the agreement didn’t formally require Triumph to hold onto its plans for the Booth Heights project.

While Booth Heights wasn’t included in the agreement with Triumph, several residents expressed their displeasure about a Jan. 18 letter to the town from Vail Resorts Vice President of Mountain Planning Kyle Griffith. That letter asserted that Vail Resorts would continue in its efforts to develop the Booth Heights property in East Vail.

Time to condemn?

Several residents told councilmembers that the town should pursue condemnation proceedings on the property.

“It’s clear that Vail Resorts is not going to work any longer with the town,” East Vail resident Larry Stewart said.

Fellow East Vail resident Mike Browning is also the chairman of the Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance. Browning told the council it’s “time to put money into protecting the natural environment,” particularly the remaining bighorn sheep that have critical winter range the area around Booth Heights.

“We need to protect the bighorn habitat one way or another,” Browning said.

Other residents also wondered if Triumph might sell its plans for Booth Heights to either Vail Resorts or another development company.

Triumph founder Steve Virostek said that won’t happen.

“I have no intent of doing anything with those drawings,” Virostek said. “Those drawings stay with me.”

When discussing the predevelopment agreement, residents and councilmembers asked for that language to be included in the document approved Tuesday.

Explaining his vote against the agreement, Stockmar said the overall document still needed more work.

Councilmember Jen Mason said she’d like to see changes to the final agreement. But Mason supported the Tuesday agreement, saying “I won’t vote for the (final) development agreement that’s wrong.”

What are the goals?

An equal, or greater, number of deed-restricted beds at Middle Creek (144) to that anticipated for Booth Heights in East Vail.

Provide more than 200 units at a redeveloped Timber Ridge apartments.

Construction at Middle Creek would begin in September of this year

Middle Creek occupancy date of November 2022.

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