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Town, developer swelling staff size

Cliff Thompson
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyDeveloper Bobby Ginn wants to build a golf course-based community resort south of Minturn that will be connected to a private ski hill by a chairlift.
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MINTURN – While no dirt will be moved there for at least two years, the groundwork is already laid for Bobby Ginn’s 5,400-acre resort community at Battle Mountain south of Minturn.His Florida-based development company has quietly been renting office space and hiring local professionals to coordinate the $1 billion-plus project that will triple the size of Minturn if it’s annexed. Annexation negotiations will begin in earnest by late spring or early summer. At a recent Minturn Town Council meeting Ginn’s team of architects, planners, mountain designers, managers and public relations people outnumbered the residents and town officials attending the meeting. It’s just the beginning. Once intensive development begins on Battle Mountain’s 875 homes, golf course and private ski hill there could be several hundred workers on the project.So far Ginn has hired Mike Larson’s International Alpine design for his ski hill and other matters; Tom Braun’s Braun and Associates; Brian Judge of Vail Architecture Group; Kristin Kenney Wiliams of Peeples Ink; and lawyer Greg Perkins from Wear and Travers.

Early expansionBut Ginn’s local presence isn’t the only thing growing. The town of Minturn is beginning to increase its staff a smidgen as well as its office space in the community center. The best part for the town – it’s all on Ginn’s tab, said town manager Ann Capela.Ginn is fronting $50,000 so the town can prepare to deal with the complex annexation agreement with the town by hiring another planner and contracting with engineering and other consultants. It will also be expanding the office space in town hall by converting a two-bedroom residence in the building to more office space, Capela said. That, too, will be on Ginn’s tab. Because the town relies on the money from rental of the unit – the town has but a $1.2 million annual budget – Ginn has agreed to reimburse the town for the revenue lost by the conversion.Minturn is also beefing up its Web site and e-mail lists to help keep Minturnites in the loop on the project, said Capela.The development company will be paying for much of the additional expense the town experiences as it reviews and provides service to the new community, Capela said at a recent council meeting. Expanded water, sewer, police and other town services could cost millions.

Details, detailsBut figuring out who pays for what will take complex and time-consuming negotiation, both parties agree. The annexation agreement will take 18 months to two years or longer to complete, said Braun, Ginn’s planner.Properties not part of an incorporated town can ask to be included in a town, and get the benefit of town services in return for taxes and other fees. In this case, The town and developer will negotiate what will be built and where.To reach a deal, there will be dozens of meetings between the town and developer. The process is something like a first date – neither party will proceed unless both parties are comfortable with the situation, Braun said. The development company has also rented office space in Minturn’s International Building, behind the Saloon, and is reportedly investigating purchasing or renting other property on Minturn’s Main Street.Ginn admits developing the property will be a challenge. Much of the developable bottom land is reclaimed from mine waste rock piles from nearly 100 years of mining and milling at the Eagle Mine.

Ginn said he wants to develop 125 or more residences along the golf course near Bolts Lake south of Minturn, plus up to 150 at the abandoned mining town of Gilman and nearly 600 slopeside homes. A lift will connect the lower property with the ski hill.Three weeks ago Eagle County asked if it could review the development with Minturn. The town and county have been working together on some preliminary information like maps and other matters, even though the town council and county commissioners have not reached an agreement. Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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