Ever Vail would add to fund
VAIL, Colorado – Consultants reviewing the proposed Ever Vail development in Vail, Colorado, told the Vail Town Council on Tuesday that the project would have positive impacts to the town’s bottom line, but the full impacts of the project are still being studied.Ever Vail is Vail Resorts’ proposed project that would add more than 150,000 square feet of commercial space, a 120-room hotel, 317 free-market condominiums, nearly 50 deed-restricted rental and owned units and at least 400 public parking spaces. Ever Vail also would include a gondola, which would be the fifth portal onto Vail Mountain.The analysis presented Tuesday focuses on the town’s general-fund revenues and expenditures to estimate the net fiscal impact of the project. The analysis also estimates the building and construction-related revenues, the real estate transfer tax, construction use tax, lodging tax, the recreation impact fee and property tax increment generated by Ever Vail.From a town fiscal point of view, Ever Vail would generate more revenue than costs the town would incur, said Andrew Knudtsen and Brian Duffany, consultants with Economic & Planning Systems of Denver.”We don’t see fiscal impact to be a major issue with this project,” Duffany said. The town hired the consultants to look at both positive and negative fiscal and economic impacts, such as how Ever Vail would impact town revenues and expenses and how the project would impact other businesses in town – businesses that aren’t necessarily excited about the possibility of more competition coming to the neighborhood. “We haven’t figured out how to get people to move between the two base areas we have,” said Tom Neyens, owner of Ski/Bike Valet. “I just think this is just slicing up the pie even thinner.”Some members questioned some of the consultants’ methodologies in the fiscal study. Councilwoman Margaret Rogers wants more data to back up a consultant assumption that the guests at Ever Vail will be new guests to the town.Knudtsen said hotels are always generating new guests to any given market, and combined with the $1.1 billion investment of Vail Resorts, there’s an assumption that Ever Vail will result in new guests. Neyens said if there’s some huge influx of new people to Vail once Ever Vail is built, which he’s not so sure is a given, he wants to know what’s going to draw those people out of Ever Vail and into other parts of town.He feels the project could give Vail Resorts a monopoly on town business. The economic analysis, which would look at the impacts to other town businesses, won’t be ready for up to eight weeks. Without it, Vail Town Council members weren’t overjoyed at the news Ever Vail would positively impact the town’s budget – they want to hear the project’s other impacts, too.”What we’re being asked is to approve the most important project since the approval of Lionshead in 1968,” Councilman Andy Daly said. “A major new portal, full retail, commercial facilities – really exciting stuff – but we’ve got to make sure it meets our long-term objectives.”Vail Resorts sent out mailers to local residents and businesses about the project – a mailer that gave at least Neyens the impression that Ever Vail had already been approved. At Tuesday’s meeting he realized it hasn’t been approved, but he said it seems like approval appears to be a slam dunk.Daily said the town needs to be clear to the public that the project is only in the early stages.”I think it’s obviously got a long way to go,” Daly said. Rogers said the project “hasn’t even begun to be a done deal.”The town plans to wait for consultants to get more information, like the proposed phasing for Ever Vail’s construction and a service plan that showed what Vail Resorts plans to cover in terms of public-works-type services, before forming opinions on the impacts of Ever Vail. The new information should be available within the next two months. Vail Resorts spokeswoman Kristin Kinney Williams said Vail Resorts has been working with the consultants and agrees more information is needed to get a more clear economic impact study. She said the fiscal analysis, however, looks good for the town.”Our general impression is the project is a fiscal home run (for the town of Vail),” Williams said. Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at email@example.com.