River run renters losing their views | VailDaily.com

River run renters losing their views

Nicole Frey
Nicole Frey/Vail DailyLonnie Ford calls to his cat, Indiana Jones, in his River Run apartment. Ford will have to vacate his rental to make way condominiums that will be sold for between $262,000 to $685,000.

EAGLE-VAIL” Vanessa Bowie placed a hand on her head, took a deep breath and fought to keep smiling.

Bearing the news that all River Run apartment residents will eventually have to vacate their homes, Bowie, the community manager, has taken a lot of heat since Thursday afternoon.

“I’m so beat up. It’s been overwhelming,” Bowie said. “Change is always a surprise, but it’s hard when you have 100 people screaming at you.”

River Run residents learned they would be forced to leave their homes to make way for extensive renovations. Starting in April with buildings B and E, the Eagle-Vail apartment complex will be completely remodeled, said Steve Milgrom, River Run’s managing partner.

Residents will be asked to move out in phases and the remodel may last through the summer of 2007. Milgrom said a more specific schedule wasn’t available.

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And instead of the current 117 rental units, the new River Run, to be called The Canyons, at River’s Edge, will have one- to three-bedroom condominiums on sale from $262,000 to $685,000.

The condos, which are being marketed by Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate, are flying off the shelf and many condos with a view of the Eagle River have already sold out.

So even though River Run resident Lonnie Ford was told he and other River Run tenants would be able to purchase new condos at a discount, Ford said there’s no chance of purchasing the unit he’s living in now.

“This is the best deal I’ve found in the whole valley, and now we’re being evicted,” said Ford from his apartment in building E overlooking the river. “I told my brother, ‘Take a look at the view, because it’s not going to be here anymore.'”

In the apartment below Ford, Erica Ennis said she was shocked to hear she would have to leave. Living in River Run for the last two years, Ennis expected to renew her lease again in March, but isn’t sure she’ll be allowed to anymore.

Ennis and Ford, along with tenants in the other 40 units in buildings B and E are scheduled to be moved out by March 31.

Milgrom acknowledged renovation plans would “disrupt” his tenants’ lives, but said, “Not all progress is made without some pain,” in a letter to the residents.

But Ennis said a little more notice may have lessened the blow.

“Vanessa said the buildings were going to get a facelift, and all of a sudden, it’s, ‘Oh, you have to go,'” Ennis said. “It really doesn’t jive with me.”

But Milgrom said he told residents about the renovation plans as soon as they were concrete. Milgrom added he will have to honor standing leases by finding his tenants other living arrangements or reimbursing their leases.

“I can’t legally throw somebody out if they have a lease,” Milgrom said.

While Ennis is talking to an attorney about her rights as a tenant, she’s also looking into other lodging options ” and not finding much. She currently pays less than $1,000 for a 2-bedroom apartment, which she shares with her boyfriend and two cats.

“We really have no idea what we’re going to do,” she said. “We might be forced into signing a lease somewhere we’re not comfortable or happy.”

With Vail Mountain still open, Ford said March is the worst time to have to find new housing. But Bowie said she’s been busy trying to help tenants find other living arrangements.

While most were less than thrilled to learn of their impending departure, one tenant took the opportunity to break her lease and leave ” it’s a move Bowie said she’s willing to negotiate with others.

“Usually I have people angry because they want to get out of their lease, but now I’ve got people angry because they have to leave,” Bowie said.

“It’s going to be phenomenal once it’s completed, but right now’s the tricky part,” she said. “I feel for the residents ” I am a resident, and I’m going to lose my home and my job too.”

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or nfrey@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado

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