Marriott proposal in West Vail sees changes; review slated for Tuesday
By the numbers:
170: Hotel rooms in a proposed Marriott Residence Inn extended-stay hotel.
107: Deed-restricted apartments in the plan.
360: Underground parking spaces.
59.7: Height at the structure’s tallest point.
VAIL — A proposal for an extended-stay hotel, deed-restricted apartments and hundreds of underground parking spaces in West Vail gets its first Town Council review Tuesday.
Developer Peter Dumon proposed the project, at the site of the former Roost Lodge, earlier this year. The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission recently recommended approval by a 5-2 vote.
Because the project includes 107 deed-restricted apartments — meaning they can only be leased by county employees, and not used as short-term rentals — the project has earned the endorsement of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce, the Vail Chamber & Business Association and the Vail Local Housing Authority.
While the unit numbers are unchanged, the building proposal has been altered. Instead of one unbroken facade, new renderings show the structure now looking like six individual buildings.
The structure has also lost some height. Dominic Mauriello, the local land planner for the project, said total height has dropped by 14 feet.
Mauriello said the underground parking garage is now 10 feet deeper, and floor-to-floor space was reduced to take the height down a bit more.
Dumon said the changes, proposed by the town’s planning board and the Vail Design Review Board, helped improve the project. Working with those boards was “very collaborative,” Dumon said.
“I’m thrilled with the process,” Dumon added. “It’s more attractive. It will probably cost a bit more, but we’re thrilled. … I’ve done lots of development in my career, and other places don’t have the architectural sensitivity Vail does.”
While the building isn’t as high as it once was, the maximum height is still just more than 59 feet, although most of the building is less than 48 feet tall.
That height will still require the Vail Town Council to approve a variance from existing town codes.
The height and size of the building has drawn criticism from some neighbors. But, supporters say the project will be a benefit to the town.
A letter from Vail Valley Partnership CEO Chris Romer to the town cites the need for more parking and “mid-priced or entry-level lodging options.”
A letter from Vail Chamber & Business Association Executive Director Alison Wadey cites the same point.
Both chambers and the housing authority board also point to the additional housing the project will provide.
The housing authority board voted unanimously to recommend project approval. That group’s support letter states that the project meets the goals of the town’s recently adopted housing plan, particularly the addition of deed-restricted rental units.
“We need the help of the private sector” to meet the housing plan’s goals, Vail Local Housing Authority Chairman Steve Lindstrom said. “This is what a public-private partnership looks like. This is how we help them help us.”
‘Part of the solution’
Lindstrom acknowledged the size of the facility that will replace the small Roost Lodge. But, he said, additional density is part of the key to Vail’s success.
Density, Lindstrom said, “is how we can have a pedestrian village at the base of a ski mountain. It’s how we have parking structures instead of acres of asphalt. It’s why our transit system works.”
Vail Community Development Department Director George Ruther said the Marriott proposal is part of a broader conversation needed between the town’s government and its residents.
“If the town and the community want to address housing in the community and not expand the town boundaries, infill development may be one of the options for consideration.”
That kind of development, in which older, smaller buildings are replaced with new, bigger buildings, is common throughout Vail Village and Lionshead, Ruther said.
The questions about more dense development in Vail reverberates past the town’s limits, Ruther said. Building housing outside of town leads to other problems, including parking and transit into town, Ruther said. Given that Vail has the biggest single concentration of jobs in the valley — about 9,200, at last count — where those employees live can raise a host of other questions.
“The Marriott isn’t the solution, but it’s part of the solution,” Lindstrom said. “Vail in a lot of ways has shown the way of how to be a mountain resort in this century. I think we’re on the verge of something special.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.