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Offices getting squeezed out of Vail

Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyJoel Heath, president of Untraditional Marketing, right, conducts a staff meeting Tuesday in the office building the company moved into after leaving Vail.
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VAIL ” Joel Heath really wanted his company, Untraditional Marketing, to have an office in Vail.

And it had one, until 2005, when he couldn’t afford the rent increase and the space available in Vail was either too small or too expensive, he said.

Edwards offered better choices, he said, and the company ended up in the post office building there.



The area has an entrepreneurial buzz, he said.

“We’re part of a good energy in Edwards,” he said.

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Office and store space oftentimes aren’t as profitable as building condos in places like Vail and Aspen, said Colin Laird, director of Healthy Mountain Communities, a Carbondale-based nonprofit that tries to improve the quality of life of people living in the High Country.

“It’s one of those things where the nature of land costs of our region make it tough for people to do everyday jobs in resort communities,” he said.

Having professional businesses in Vail would bring spending and activity to the town, said Don Cohen, executive director of the Eagle County Economic Council.



But Vail could probably do without offices, he said.

“I think it would be a nice to have, but in the economic landscape, it’s not necessary,” he said.

“What is valuable to town is retail” and offices don’t bring in as much sales tax dollars, he said.

Untraditional Marketing would move back to Vail if an opportunity arose, Heath said.

The West Vail mall area could be redeveloped to create the same kind of buzz that Edwards has, he said.

The village’s Crossroads building, which has many offices, will be torn down next month. There won’t be office space in its replacement, Solaris.

Vail Resorts says it will replace the 26,000 square feet of office space that will be torn down for its Ever Vail project in West Lionshead. The Vail Town Council has said it wants even more office space in Ever Vail than what’s there now.

“A town, to function, needs to have offices,” even offices that aren’t directly related to tourism such as consulting, architecture and advertising business, said Councilman Mark Gordon.

A community needs people who work and live there and Gordon said he’ll try to make sure the town incorporates office space into the “master plans” it makes for neighborhoods.

Businesses that remain in Vail say it’s a good place to be.

“There’s a tremendous energy with the renovations and the streetscape and all that’s been going on,” said Pat Peeples, whose Peeples Ink public relations company has an office in Vail Village.

Because Peeples Ink represents clients in the tourism and development businesses, it makes sense to be in Vail, Peeples said. For instance, one of Peeples Ink’s clients is the “Vail Summer” marketing campaign.

The Vail location also helps recruit good employees ” one employee can conveniently teach at the nearby Vail Nordic Center during the winter, she said.

“This is the beachfront,” Peeples said.

David Viele, owner of Viele Construction, said having a Vail address helps get more business.

“We do get some work solely because we’re based in Vail,” he said. “But I don’t know if that outweighs the economic challenges of trying to stay in Vail.”

Being in Vail can be a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting ” people like being able to ski in and out of the office, but the housing market can cancel out that benefit, he said.

“It’s a challenge to move to the valley and find a good place to live,” he said.

Viele said his company is lucky that it moved into its current space 25 years ago.

“I’m pretty certain if we were looking for a space right now, having an office in Vail wouldn’t be an option,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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