Green light in Lionshead |

Green light in Lionshead

Dawn WitlinVail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyA renovated Lionshead parking garage would have five-star hotels, shops, condos and other features.

VAIL, Colorado With overwhelming support from council members and locals, the Lionshead parking structures project plan was approved Tuesday night.This is the opportunity of a lifetime for us, said Rob LeVine, Vail resident and manager of Antlers at Vail Condominiums. Its the one thing that really has the ability to change our economy to a year-round economy.Mark Mastiner, who heads Dallas-based Open Hospitality Partners/Hillwood Capital, said the project will increase parking capacity from 1150 to 2149 spaces.This proposal is a result of a lot of collaboration with members of the community and many members of the town staff, Mastiner said. The plans for the parking facility, which include both St. Regis and W hotels, condos, timeshares, stores, restaurants, a conference center and oodles of public art, also contain a new roundabout to allow traffic to flow both left and right throughout the complex.During construction, parking will not dip below its current capacity, Mastiner said.Greg Moffett, a former Vail councilman, was answered with a round of applause from meeting-goers after voicing his support of the project. The amount of community benefit, from retail space and hotel rooms to new parking, is incalculable, he said to the council.Some council members expressed concern because Vail Resorts still retains a deed restriction on the 6.3-acre property. Although I am very much in favor of your plan and I compliment you … we cannot move forward on a project plan until we have full assurance that Vail Resorts is going to lift the deed restriction, councilman Andy Daly said.Vail Resorts has until Sept. 15 of this year to lift the deed restriction, councilwoman Margaret Rogers said.I am not going to put myself and the town in the position of being dictated to by Vail Resorts as to how to modify a process that is clearly very well thought-out and has very specific legal ramifications to it, Rogers said. I would suggest you put your best diplomatic negotiating team on this.Peter Runyon, of Edwards, commissioner of Eagle County, said hes worried about the potential impact on housing as a result of new jobs created by the facility.The cost of living in this county on any kind of a national scale is completely out of whack. … Its expensive, he said before the council Monday night. This is going to be a lot of new jobs, and its a real problem, and you need to pay attention to it.The council voted 6 -1 for submitting the project plans as a resolution at the next meeting Aug. 5, with councilman Kevin Foley voting in the negative.There are a lot of people in the town right now that are a little tired of the cranes and I think some merchants are seeing a little bit of a construction backlash this summer, said Foley said. I say we should just let the town development occur, wait and see what happens, keep this on the back burner and leave this land for future use.

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