Vail breaks building record, again |

Vail breaks building record, again

VAIL, Colorado ” Even with big projects like the Arrabelle at Vail Square in the rear-view mirror, Vail posted another record construction year in 2007.

The town issued $496 million worth of construction permits, the fifth straight record year.

Many are optimistic about the ongoing redevelopment. Rayla Kundolf, manager of Masters Gallery in Vail Village, said her customers tell her that the redevelopment was necessary.

“The No. 1 comment is ‘This (Vail) needed it. It’s great. It’s beautiful,'” Kundolf said. “The new projects alone brought a wonderful ambiance to the town.”

Disruptive projects ” such as the rebuilding of Vail’s pedestrian streets and the prominent Arrabelle project ” are completed, and other projects are contained behind fences, Kundolf said.

Much of Vail was built in the ’60s, and some say it had grown tired and outdated, making redevelopment necessary to keep it competitive with other resorts.

Ron Byrne, a longtime resident and developer who is building a condo project called the Vail Mountainview Residences, said many of the buildings in Vail ” especially ones on the periphery of town ” were old, poorly built and energy inefficient.

Byrne said he demolished the old Apollo Park building in a matter of hours to make way for the new project.

“It was nothing,” he said. “It was papier mache.”

Projects included in 2007’s half-billion-dollar record year were Solaris, the Four Seasons, Manor Vail and the Ritz-Carlton Residences.

And there is no shortage of projects coming down the pike in Vail. Next year should see the start of projects at the Timberline Lodge (the condo-hotel replacement for the Roost Lodge), Fogata (on the site of the Lionshead Inn), the Rucksack on Bridge Street, the Landmark Townhomes in Lionshead and the Cornerstone Building in Cascade Village.

On Tuesday, representatives from the Lionshead Center, the building that includes Garfinkel’s and Double Diamond Ski Shop, will talk to the Town Council about rebuilding that building.

Ever Vail, Vail Resorts’ planned $1 billion ski village, is also on the horizon. So is a proposed $620 million redevelopment of the Lionshead parking structure.

Construction over the next few years should stay strong, Byrne said, but building will be tied to the economy.

“If you find it’s more difficult to get construction funding and financing on projections, certainly some projects are going to be slowed down,” he said.

Development review applications ” a leading indicator of construction ” remain high, said George Ruther, community development director for the town of Vail. The town saw about 725 applications this year.

“If trends remain consistent, this building activity will continue for some time,” Ruther said.

Many neighbors of large construction projects have jumped on the building bandwagon, Ruther said.

“It’s just kind of fed on itself and created an increasing demand on development,” he said.

Kim Newbury, a Vail councilwoman since 2003, said she hasn’t been surprised by the amount of construction in Vail. And while the construction can been challenging to live through, the finished projects have been worth it, she said.

“To remain a world-class resort, we needed improvements to our town,” Newbury said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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