Hiding the heights at Minturn resort | VailDaily.com

Hiding the heights at Minturn resort

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado
The Ginn CompanyThe Ginn Development Co. wants to build 500 homes and 1,200 condominiums on more than 5,300 acres south of Minturn. The company wants Minturn to approve a private ski resort and golf course, a bike trail, employee housing in Gilman and near Red Cliff and other amenities.

MINTURN”The Ginn Development Co. may hide the tallest building in Eagle County behind a hill south of Minturn.

The company proposed to the Minturn Planning Commission to build its condominiums up to 150 feet high at Bolts Lake. The company wants to build 500 homes, 1,200 condominiums and a private ski resort on more than 5,300 acres of private land on Battle Mountain, south of Minturn.

The company’s representatives say the tall condominium buildings would conserve space better than building homes along places such as the proposed golf course. But a local architect says the building might not fit the character of Minturn.

Stuart Brummett, owner of an Avon architecture firm who has followed the project, said that the architecture in the artist’s rendering of the Bolts Lake Village looked nice, but he’s concerned about how tall it would be.

“It’s important that the planning commission realizes that this is going to be a huge building and that it’s unparalleled to any building built in Eagle County,” Brummett said.

However, a large hill with a long ridge would probably hide the 700 condominiums at Bolts Village from Minturn. But those hiking or snowmobiling near Tigiwon Road ” which the company would reroute around its Bolts Lake development ” or traveling along Highway 24 would see it.

Cliff Thompson, spokesman for the company, said that building the condominiums taller and clustering them would conserve land and impact the environment less. The company also wants to build a clubhouse on the golf course west of Bolts Lake, he said.

The buildings’ highest point could tower over the Vail Plaza Hotel tower and Solaris, the former with a maximum height of 99.75 feet and the latter with a proposed maximum height of 99.9 feet, and could rival the approximately 135-foot tall Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, under construction in Avon.

Yet unlike the other tall buildings in the Vail Valley, those at Bolts Lake would be built in a depression flanked by a mountain, which make the condominiums look relatively small, said Dominic Mauriello, planner for the company.

The company has requested a 45-foot maximum height for single-family homes on Battle Mountain, Mauriello said.

The company has not yet completed its analysis, which involves laser imaging and digital mapping technology, but so far Ginn has proved that you won’t see Battle Mountain’s buildings from Minturn and Red Cliff.

Thompson acknowledged that one could see the development from places such as the Holy Cross Wilderness.

“You could see it from outer space, the top of Vail, the top of any mountain,” Thompson said.

One could also view the ski slopes from three points: one in Minturn, one in Gilman and the other in Red Cliff, company representatives said. But the ski runs would resemble meadows instead of traditional ski trails that cut wide, treeless swaths across mountains, they said.

The company would clear trees below a ridge to accommodate a chairlift on Battle Mountain facing Minturn, according to photos from the company took to analyze the view.

“It’s a minimal amount of change that probably won’t be noticed in five years,” Dominic Mauriello, planner for the Ginn Company, said.

It’s unclear whether relics from the area’s mining past would remain. Representatives said that the company would balance environmental interests with historical ones when deciding whether to keep the tower at Wilksbury Shaft at Gilman or the trestle that spans Bolts Lake.

The company might remove the tower because one of the Gilman’s most contaminated waste piles lies adjacent to it, said Ken Waesche, Ginn consultant from Ecological Resources Management.

If the company must remove the trestle, it might construct a new one shorter in length, Thompson said.

In Gilman, the company would construct 300 condominiums for its employees that would mimic the colors, sizes and form of the now dilapidated homes to preserve the appearance of the old mining town, representatives said.

The company also wants to build 200 condominiums at Willow Creek Village on the mountain.

Still, the company’s plans are not final until the town determines whether to approve the project, Thompson said. Even if approved, the plans could require changes, he said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

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