Mold being cleaned at Vail complex | VailDaily.com

Mold being cleaned at Vail complex

Stephen Lloyd Wood

NWS Timber Mold1 BH 11-18

Thirty-one of 198 units at Timber Ridge Village Apartments have been cleared for occupancy a month after town officials asked the complex’s managers to suspend all new leases until further notice as a precaution after preliminary tests revealed “visible mold and/or elevated air spores.”

“Things are going great at Timber Ridge,” Suzanne Silverthorn, the town’s community relations director, said Wednesday.

Last month, microbiologists from a Ft. Collins-based company, Stewart Environmental, completed inspections and random air sampling at Timber Ridge. Their analysis identified 60 units that could be readied for occupancy with a minimal amount of remediation. In addition, they recommended another 30 occupied units also receive some work, bringing the total number of units needing attention to 90.

During the inspections, leaky pipes were identified and repaired to prevent further mold growth. Wendell Rahorst, an industrial hygienist from WR Inc. in Golden, then made a visit to help plan remediation work and clearance procedures, including air sampling and visual inspections.

The remediation work itself has involved workers dressing in air-tight suits, so as not to breathe in mold spores. Other work includes installing new ventilation systems in the bathrooms, as well as replacing some bathroom vanities and some kitchen cabinets. Scraping and repainting window sills also is necessary in some units. All units in question also are getting new carpets.

“All hands on deck’

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The town was under the gun, so to speak, after Vail Resorts – which leases a substantial number of units for its seasonal employees – issued a deadline of Monday for 30 units to become available “with as little disruption as possible.”

After the initial remediation work was done, Silverthorn says, town employees from various departments began pitching in.

“We’ve had guys from Public Works building and installing cabinets, and firefighters helping tenants move furniture,” Silverthorn said. “It’s really been all hands on deck.”

An additional 28 or more units should be available by Jan. 5, Silverthorn said.

Brian McCartney, vice president of mountain operations for Vail Mountain, has been been the ski company’s point man on the remediation. He said the town of Vail has done a great job in getting units ready for his workers.

“We negotiated a number of units to be delivered, and they were. We’ve already got guys moving back in who are as happy as can be to be back in there,” McCartney said. “We should have everybody back in by New Year’s. It all worked out great.”

“Running the numbers’

The town purchased Timber Ridge from its previous owner, John Marks, in July for $20 million. The sale was the product of a long, turbulent relationship that resulted in “friendly condemnation” process. The goal was to maintain a base of affordable housing in town. Timber Ridge has historically been used to house seasonal employees, with Vail Resorts and other businesses being the primary lease-holders.

As for how many units ultimately will undergo mold remediation, Silverthorn said the town is “running numbers on cleaning more units now that we understand the cost and scope of the cleanup.” A proposal for cleaning up another 30 units is being considered, she added.

From there, it’s up to the management company, Corum Real Estate Group, to assess the actual need for more mold remediation.

“It depends on the rental market and the cost-benefit,” Silverthorn said. “Corum will take all that into consideration.”