Majority of Vail Gateway owners want Arthrex to stay |

Majority of Vail Gateway owners want Arthrex to stay

EAGLE COUNTY — Ickiness is in the eye of the beholder.

This is a story about doctors and lawyers, and “icky” is neither a legal or medical term, just so you’re clear.

But it’s pretty amusing, so we’re going to keep using it.

Arthrex is an international surgical training company with a spot in the Vail Gateway Plaza building. A couple people on the Vail Gateway property owners board don’t want Arthrex there because they say it’s icky or words to that effect. They are suing Arthrex.

“As resort communities mature, health care services will be a critical component of local services.”
Ford Frick
BBC Research and Consulting

What Arthrex does is bring surgeons from around the country to Vail, where those surgeons practice installing body parts like knees.

The body parts come from cadavers and court documents indicate the Lipcon crew seem to think that’s icky. Arthrex says it’s not. They use joints only, not entire cadavers.

The lawsuit

Folks who own a majority of the Vail Gateway space, 59.8 percent in fact, insist it’s not icky and say Arthrex is a good neighbor.

However, they do say it’s icky that those doing the suing want another $138,000 to pay for the lawsuit that the other 59.8 percent say they want no part of.

Attorney Charles Lipcon owns a Vail Gateway penthouse and is president of the Vail Gateway Plaza Condominium Association board. He and fellow board member Katia Bates filed the lawsuit over the 59.8 percent’s objections and with the experience of District Court Judge Mark Thompson has twice ruled in Arthrex’s favor already.

The 59.8 percent call the lawsuit “rogue and unauthorized.”

A bit of background

Back when Gateway was trying to keep from drowning, the spaces were sold off.

To keep Gateway’s commercial owners from running roughshod over residential people, the three-person board is stacked 2-1 against the commercial owners.

Actually it’s 2-0, since the commercial owners don’t have anyone on the board.

Which brings us back to ickiness.

Melissa Greenauer owns the Arthrex space. The lawsuit says she didn’t go to the board for its approval before Arthrex built there.

The two sides are scheduled to spend between the next five days and two weeks arguing the many aspects of ickiness before Judge Thompson, who is doing a remarkable job paying attention to all this.

What Arthrex does

Court documents indicate the Lipcon crew appears to hate what Arthrex does. The frozen body parts are biologically and pathologically clean.They’re kept frozen until the surgeon is ready for them, says a memo from the town of Vail, responding to some Gateway condo owners’ concerns.

When the surgeon is done practicing, the parts are refrozen, packaged in designated disposal bags, picked up by Stericycle and incinerated at its Dacono facility.

The town of Vail has said many times that Arthrex’s meets all the zoning criteria. Arthrex has been at this in Vail for more than a decade, and at the Vail Gateway location for four years.

Local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Peter Millett says he has taught more than 200 Arthrex surgical skills classes in the Steadman Clinic and various Vail hotels.

Economic expansion

Vail and the rest of the valley has been looking for ways to expand the local economy beyond tourism and real estate/construction.

It got serious when the bottom fell out of the local real estate market after that icky recession hit in 2008.

Vail hired a consultant who pointed them toward the medical industry. The local marketing district started looking for ways of bringing those industries to town. Among them was Arthrex.

Local medical businesses have an economic impact of non-icky $100 million a year, according to a study by Ford Frick and BBC Research and Consulting.

“As resort communities mature, health care services will be a critical component of local services,” Frick wrote in the economic impact study.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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