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Medical project would grow economy

Randy Wyrickrwyrick@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado

The town of Vail wants the already high revenues brought in by the hospital and its doctors to growVAIL – The Steadman Clinic CEO looks you right in the eye when he explains their lofty goals.”We want to become the orthopedic Silicon Valley,” said Lyon Steadman, CEO of the Steadman Clinic.A partnership with the town of Vail to build a new medical facility is a big step toward that, Steadman said.”This is an excellent way for us to launch ourselves for the next five to 10 years,” Steadman said.Vail owns the land on which that facility will be built – on the west end of its municipal complex – and it’s worth between $5.9 million and $6.7 million, according to a real estate appraisal released Monday.The medical partners are buying the land for $5 million. That means the town is leaving between $900,000 and $1.7 million on the table, a small price to pay for such a large economic impact, say town officials.”The contribution the town is making to the project arguably will be paid back in the first year,” said George Ruther, Vail’s director of community development.The town of Vail, Vail Valley Medical Center, Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute are partnered up on the plan to redevelop the went side of the town’s municipal complex into medical offices.”We’re very excited about the relationship we’ve developed with the town and the hospital to put together this important project. It will be one of the cornerstones to help us grow in the future,” Steadman said.The Steadman Clinic opened in Vail Aug. 1, 1990. They’ve been working on this project since the spring of 2010, Steadman said.Enormous economics The Vail Valley reaps $100 million in economic benefit every year from the Steadman Clinic, the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, the Vail Valley Medical Center and the businesses that go with it, according to an economic impact study by Ford Frick’s Browne Bortz & Coddington Research Consulting.”As resort communities mature, health care services will be a critical component of local services, and few areas can compete with the diversity and depth of medical services offered by the Vail Valley Medical Center,” wrote Ford Frick of BBC Research and Consulting, who authored the economic impact study. “The clinic’s operations diversify the local economy, providing market opportunities beyond skiing, real estate and recreation – an enviable market position.”The real estate appraisal and economic impact study were all part of the research Vail did as it moved forward with the project, Ruther said.”It was important to the town council to understand the value of this land,” Ruther said.The town started doing its due diligence in June, Ruther said.The Steadman Clinic will occupy around 31,000 square feet of the 56,000 square foot building, the Steadman Philippon Institute 14,000 square feet and Howard Head around 9,000 square feet, Steadman said.”We’re very blessed. We’ve been fortunate to be able to attract some of the best physicians around and that helps attract our patient base,” Steadman said. “It’s exciting to be part of this. I feel honored to be working with such a talented group of physicians.”Steadman said they want to grow their businesses and recruit two more physicians, but they’re strapped for space – there’s no space to put two more doctors.Not done yetThe town is also on the hook for up to $10 million for its share of the redevelopment costs, said town Finance Director Judy Camp.The town could pay that in cash from its $20 million reserve fund and still have more money in its reserve fund than the 25 percent the law requires.Or the town could float certificates of participation – a series of seven one-year loans that wouldn’t require voter approval – a financial gadget governments use to skirt Colorado’s TABOR Amendment that prohibits multi-year debt without a public vote.Camp said paying cash would save around $500,000 in interest charges.The timing seems right for the project. By 2013, the town will have paid off the loans on the Vail parking structures, freeing up an extra $2.3 million per year.Construction is scheduled to begin April 2013 and finish in tie for the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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