Lion’s Ridge construction starts
VAIL — Kent Logan and Dick Cleveland shook hands and smiled at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for the new Lion’s Ridge apartments. Both said almost immediately that it has been a long time coming.
Cleveland, a former Vail mayor, and Logan, a former town council member, were on the council in 2003 when that group agreed to pay market price — about $20 million — for the Timber Ridge apartments. In the decade-plus since that purchase, three redevelopment plans for the 10-acre property were proposed. All failed, mostly because potential developers couldn’t find an agreeable set of numbers for the project.
In 2013, developers Gary Gorman and Jen Wright, who had been partners on a long-dormant condo project near Cascade Village, brought the town a proposal for half the Timber Ridge property.
Tuesday, with balloons, cake and a barbecue lunch as part of the celebration, Gorman thanked town officials for their work in making the project happen.
“This has been a long process,” Gorman said. “It’s taken tremendous effort and persistence.”
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Gorman acknowledged that the original deal for the project had to be modified more than once, something he attributed to volatility in the capital markets.
That deal ended up with the town leasing the property to the developers for 50 years, instead of the originally-planned 35. The deal also includes an option for the developers to buy the 5-acre parcel for $5 million sometime in the next decade.
The original Timber Ridge units, built in 1981, were geared primarily toward seasonal employees. Wright said the Lion’s Ridge apartments are aimed at a different market.
PUTTING DOWN ROOTS
Noting that Vail’s employees are a bit older on average these days, Wright said the new units are geared toward year-round residents. As such, there are several studio and one-bedroom apartments. All the units have their own laundry equipment, and there’s a storage closet for every bedroom. In addition, each unit will have its own forced-air heating, and the units will all have eight-foot-wide outdoor decks, big enough for patio tables and a few chairs.
Pat Mason may be in the heart of that target market. An off-and-on Timber Ridge resident since 2008, Mason works at the Lodge at Vail. He said he’s enjoyed living at the apartments, primarily because of the location.
“It’s nice to be able to catch a bus and be (at work),” Mason said.
And, Wright said, the new units will be a place residents will want to put down roots in town.
“These will really fit in with the quality we have here in the Vail Valley,” Wright said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.