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From wings to wheels

Melissa Kellogg
Vail, CO, Colorado
Preston Utley putley@vaildaily.comEagle Airport Garages on-site manager Dave Schneider.
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Owning a luxury garage condo may sound more like an indulgence for the rich, however, the Eagle County Airport Garages are not only a great place for jet-setters to store their cars, but also the next must-have for your favorite pack rat.

The beauty of the idea is that you own your garage and have all the rights, responsibilities and benefits of typical condo ownership, including profits from appreciation. If in the future you do not need the space you can either sell it or add it to the rental pool and collect rental income.

Of course, most owners at the Airport Garages are second homeowners who love the convenience of walking across the street or being picked up from the airport to go to their private garage with their car waiting inside. And if you need a place to kill some time before or after your flight, the upscale clubhouse is the perfect place.

The idea started with two brothers, Steve and Dave Thorpe, originally from Madison, Wisc. While growing up, the brothers’ family spent a week each winter at various Colorado ski resorts, which often included Vail.

As an adult, Steve says he continued skiing but instead of the long road trips his family used to take, he would fly to his favorite skiing destinations. It was on one of those trips that the idea for the Airport Garages for the well-to-do and second home owners occurred to him.

At the time, he had already enjoyed a successful career as a hedge-fund manager and had retired at age 40 and moved to Idaho. Itching for another business venture, he talked about the idea to his brother Dave ” who then lived full-time in Steamboat Springs.

Dave took the drive from Steamboat to the Eagle County Airport and it happened that a lot was available across the street from the airport terminal. It seemed like an ideal opportunity.

It did not take long for the Thorpes to see their idea would be a hit when they landed 80 purchase reservations of the 129 units available before they even broke ground, says Steve. After opening earlier this year, they are now totally sold out, and are building more units that will be available by mid- to late summer and are planning to build a new storage facility next door that will offer units large enough to accommodate recreational vehicles.

Airport Garages is also expanding around Colorado and nationally with a new facility in Steamboat Springs and plans to open in Salt Lake City and Charleston, S.C.

“We’re focusing on areas that have large second-homeowner populations,” says Thorpe.

To date, the facility’s units measure 12 by 22 feet. On-site manager Dave Schneider said that’spbig enough to park even the largest of SUVs. Each unit has an automatic garage door opener with both keypad and remote-controlled entry.

Perhaps the most luxurious amenity is the owners’ clubhouse, which is always accessible to owners via a keypad. The clubhouse has three plasma screen televisions, a stocked refrigerator, a popcorn machine, overstuffed leather sofas, a huge stone fireplace, Internet access, and a wall of windows overlooking the airport.

“One of our owners sits here and watches his plane land before he walks over to the terminal,” said Schneider. “We have all the amenities. The clubhouse is set up to be like a private airport club room.”

The clubhouse also provides showers so those who go from the slopes directly to the airport can take a quick shower before they catch their plane. Or, some will use the facility to shower following a flight.

Schneider will take care of your car for you if you while you are away, when requested. He will get the oil changed, get the car washed and detailed or even just start the car and pull it out of the garage periodically. Whatever the owners need,

Schneider is available to help.


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