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Going up

Scott N. MillerVail, CO Colorado

VAIL Manor Vail is a big part of Vails past. It may be pointing the way to the future.The venerable condo complex at the base of Golden Peak, just east of Vail Village, has received a significant facelift over the last couple of years, topped by the addition of a brand-new fourth floor over much of the complex. That new floor sports 17 new luxury condos, all with views of both Gore Creek and Vail Mountain.With the new condos came a new, more modern exterior look for the complex, as well as internal improvements including elevators, a sprinkler system and underground parking. The new condos, marketed as the Penthouses at Manor Vail, are the kind of units popular in Vails New Dawn. No luxury touch has been overlooked, from vaulted ceilings to finishes to walnut floors that look and may be made of hand-planed planks. The prices are about what youd expect, too, starting at $3.4 million for a 1,500 square-foot unit.Even in a slow market, the units are selling fairly well. On the market for less than a year, nine of the 17 units are under contract. Two of the units have been purchased by one buyer, who plans to blow out the common walls to create one super-sized penthouse.The table topPutting a new floor atop a 40-year-old condo complex wasnt easy, requiring a still-uncommon construction technique known as a table top. To create the new structure, steel piers were driven into the ground alongside the existing buildings. Then a framework and concrete floor were poured to create a new building surface. The result is that the new condos look like theyre attached to the building, but the units are physically separate from the old third floor, which allowed those owners to keep their own vaulted ceilings.The people on the third floor should never hear the people above them, said project manager Jim Adams.For Adams, the Manor Vail project was something new.It might have been more challenging to do the renovation than building a new building, Adams said.There were the engineering challenges of putting a structure over the existing buildings, then hiding the piers with stone columns. But builders also ran into some oddities.There werent really a lot of (building) codes when Manor Vail was built, Adams said. Weve run into garden hose underground where pipe ought to be.Then there was the surprise at the Lord Gore restaurant. The plans called for putting new stone on the hearth at the restaurants main fireplace. It should have been a straightforward job. But in Vail before 1970, builders often made do with whatever they had.We found all kinds of stuff behind the existing stone, Adams said. We ended up re-doing the whole thing. Other improvementsBuilding the new condos was the main part of the redevelopment project, of course, but a lot more got done.In exchange for the rights to build and sell the units, East West Partners did a host of improvements at Manor Vail. Those improvements included a fire sprinkler system for the complex, two new swimming pools, a new exterior look for the complex including new doors and windows for every unit and a new underground parking structure, with a small park where the old Manor Vail parking lot used to be.Theres more parking here than ever before, said Sue Rychel of Slifer, Smith & Frampton. As the listing agent, Rychel has an obvious bias when it comes to talking about these condos versus other projects in town, but theres virtually no highway noise, even from the back decks on the north side of the model unit. There wont be any early-morning delivery noise, either, since, the complex is an easy walk from the top of Bridge Street. Its also an easy walk to Ford Park in the summer.The project kept owners out of Manor Vail for almost two years. Movers took everything out of the existing units and stored it all at a warehouse in the Denver area, then moved everything back and put it back where it had been before construction started.Owners are now starting to come back to their units.Bonnie David and her husband had bought a ground-floor unit at Manor Vail in 1968, before the entire complex was finished. They had only recently traded up to a third-floor unit before the work started.What theyve done here is gorgeous, David said. But, she added, I kind of liked it the way it was.The Davids unit has lost some of its sunshine, she said, and owners have had to wait out some construction delays, but its really unbelievable what theyve done, she said. Could there be more table-top projects in Vails future? Time will tell, but this project could be a model for adding more units to already-expensive real estate in the future.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.


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