Rebuild it already
East West Partners dropped out of the running to rebuild the Lionshead parking structure, sparing the town of Vail from a difficult choice.
Vail’s leaders did a superb job of reaping increasingly better proposals for the project through competition for the job.
Both proposals offer significant improvements for Vail, along with removing what might otherwise be a huge public expense down the road.
Now Open Hospitality Partners-Hillwood Capital is left standing. And still eager to proceed.
The Texas group aims to build hotels, condos, stores, restaurants, conference center, transportation hub and oh yes, more parking.
Town leaders should continue with scrutinizing the proposal. Then, assuming it all checks out, proceed.
Some in town, primarily a few merchants, counsel waiting. The villages have been under reconstruction for the past couple of years and they are weary of it.
But waiting only drags out the work instead of providing any real break.
Best get it all done as soon as possible rather than that.
Besides, Vail could use that better mix of shopping sooner rather than later as the town loses share west of Dowd Junction. Study after study suggests that, and town leaders would be wise to heed the message. Critical mass appears to matter when it comes to visitors looking for a place to part with their dollars. And skiing isn’t the only activity even skiers look for in a vacation.
Delicate negotiations also remain with Vail Resorts, which holds a veto on the Lionshead parking structure’s future and aims to do its own new development a bit to the west.
The town’s role is to look out for the best interests of the community, which include economic and aesthetic. VR has a big stake in that, too.
” Don Rogers for the editorial board