Keep Wal-Mart out, publisher says | VailDaily.com

Keep Wal-Mart out, publisher says

Allen Best

GRANBY, Colo. – Although certainly on the rise, the Winter Park-Granby-Grand Lake resort areas does not appear to have the demographics to support a Wal-Mart.

Good, says Patrick Brower, publisher of the Sky-Hi News and Winter Park Manifest. All the better to create the legal mechanisms, such as design guidelines, that prohibit big-box buildings to keep this particular big box out.

Consumers do gain with Wal-Mart’s lower prices, concedes Brower. And so would the town treasury.

But when Wal-Mart moves into a town, it typically displaces five local businesses within the first year. Also, Wal-Mart employees are typically offered wages below those prevailing in an area. Finally, he says, Wal-Mart would kill the existing downtown.

Or maybe not. The downtown area isn’t particularly thriving – most people drive to Denver, about 75 miles away, to shop at big-box stores, as one reader pointed out.

Intrawest builds Alps resort village

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ARC 1950, FRANCE – Intrawest had found one of the few pieces of virgin ski terrain in the French Alps on which to build a new resort village.

In its first foray into Europe, the ski and real estate developer has built 500 Canadian-style apartments, called condominiums in the United States, that are linked by a $22 million gondola to La Plage, the world’s busiest resort.

Some 320 condominiums have been sold, many to Brits, at costs of between $200,000 and $1.2 million (Canadian). Another 180 units are in a rental pool. All told, the resort will have 750 units by 2008.

Development in this area of French resorts has been dominated by concrete construction of the 1960s. In a sense, says the Vancouver Sun, Intrawest has returned to the region’s roots, with designs inspired by the traditional Alpine and Savoyard chalets.

Intrawest is using the same “village” design that it has employed in its 14 mountain resorts in the United States.

Intrawest has no imminent plans for further European ventures, said Robert Jerome, vice president for the Europe region of Intrawest, but “we are looking in other countries.”

Sellers near airports must disclose location

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Beginning in January, a new California law will require people trying to sell homes near airports, including the Truckee Tahoe Airport, to notify potential buyers that the property is within an airport influence zone.

Airport managers hope the law will, in the long run, reduce complaints about noise, says the Sierra Sun. Real-estate agents believe the law will protect both buyers and agents from litigation concerning noise and safety.

Unclear from the story is how the law governs increasing airport use. In other words, can property owners expect noise to increase in volume or airport hours to expand?