Vail Daily letter: Oh, they won’t go to Gypsum |

Vail Daily letter: Oh, they won’t go to Gypsum

Fred Butler
Vail, CO, Colorado

Great perspective and analysis from Dave Berg regarding the feasibility of the Eagle River Station project. Allow me to expand further on the rumor that RED will pick up its marbles and go to the Tower Center project in Gypsum if the Eagle voters turn the project down.

I would surmise that RED now has about $20 million plus in the Eagle River Station project, counting the cost of acquisition, design, application process, and a myriad of expert fees paid to massage some sense in the matter.

Would it be financially prudent for RED to drop its project in Eagle, leave that money on the table, buy the Tower Center property, and then again go through all of the design, application expense and time to develop in Gypsum? Just wondering!

RED’s first application was denied twice by the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission, passed by the Town Board, and then voted down by the residents of Eagle mainly because it was too large a fit for the town.

Nevertheless, RED stated that they were committed to the town to give it what it needs, not necessarily what it wanted.

So RED submitted a second application to the town for an even larger project — more commercial and more residential units (rentals this time).

This time, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved its plan, and the Town Board passed it with one dissent. The matter is now submitted to the voters for their approval of even a larger project, as if RED did not listen the first time around. In other words, if it is too large in the first place for the residents, would an even larger project be just as objectionable? Just wondering!

If the project is voted down a second time, RED says it is committed to the valley in general and no longer just to Eagle. Therefore, it will pursue the Gypsum parcel if need be.

The financial burdens for RED to develop the Gypsum property would be more formidable and nonsensical than that of the Eagle River Station project.

For one thing, the I-70 new interchange would be many times over what that access would cost for the Eagle River Station project. The Tower Center project would still adversely impact the traffic problem in Eagle, especially if that I-70 interchange were not constructed, which in turn would foment more costs for RED to upgrade Highway 6 through Eagle to handle the traffic increase.

Owing to the smaller size of the Tower Center project and the numbers necessary to make that deal financially feasible, density would be paramount.

With all of this, together with Mr. Berg’s analysis of the demographics and mall economics, is RED’s implied threat of removing its project to Gypsum even credible, let alone rational? Finally, the argument that RED would bring jobs and revenues to the town coffers were the Eagle River Station project approved is dubious. Yes, Eagle needs the additional revenue, but at what risk is it willing to take by buying into RED’s “pie in the sky” projections?

It remains to be seen if RED’s hearing will improve come the next adverse vote by the residents of Eagle on the issue. A referendum vote of approval may benefit RED’s short-term plans, but will it be provident in the long-term for the citizens of Eagle?

Fred Butler

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