Stores, housing could line Vail garage
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” What is now a narrow strip of landscaping along the village parking structure in Vail, Colorado could be much more, according to town planners.
Planners made gave a nod to a decision that could eventually bring more retail, offices and even workforce housing to the strip of landscaping along Meadow Drive, the entrance to the village.
On Tuesday, Vail’s Planning and Environmental Commission voted 3 to 2 to recommend that the town allow such a development on the 5-acre strip of town-owned land.
Right now, the land is reserved for transportation, said George Ruther, community development director for Vail.
“(The planning commission) sees this much the same way that the community is viewing the Lionshead parking structure,” said Ruther, referring to plans to redevelop the Lionshead garage into a mixed-use development. “There’s an opportunity for it to be more than just a parking structure.”
The town council will vote on the decision at its Mar. 17 meeting.
The thumbs up from the planning commission is a step forward for a proposed project by Triumph Development that would bring a mix of office space, affordable homes and retail stores.
Triumph Development has proposed “The Marketplace” as a welcoming entry point to the village. On Tuesday, a company representatives showed town officials images of three-to-four story buildings that could line the entire south side of the parking structure.
Steve Virostek, principal of Triumph Development, cautioned that the planning commission recommendation was just one step in a long process.
“We’re a long way from the point of (talking about a development),” he said.
The town council has said that if and when the land is developed, there are no promises that The Marketplace will go there.
It is likely that if any improvements were made on the land, the town would request proposals from many different developers, Ruther said.
Commission members who opposed the vote worried that allowing more than parking on the land would limit the town in the future if it needed to expand the parking garage.
However, other members said they felt the change would allow give the town more flexibility and opportunities if a redevelopment scenario did come up.
However, several neighbors of the parking structure said they were worried a big development on the narrow strip would ruin the feel of the street and hurt business.
A four-story building on the cramped street would be “in your face,” and the major construction would hurt hotel business, said Stan Cope, president of Gemini Resorts Management.
The company manages the Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa, which sits across the street from the parking structure.
“Nobody comes to Vail on vacation to be 35 feet away from a major construction zone,” he said. “I don’t think we could financially survive that.”
Other community members have also spoken to the town council in favor of the possibility of developing that land.
Virostek said that the community’s concerns will be addressed.
“I feel confident that as we go through the process, we’ll be able to come up with a design that pleases everyone,” he said.
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or email@example.com.