Vail Daily’s view: Vail’s juggling act between renaissance and recession
Vail, CO, Colorado
The year 2008 brought big changes for both Vail and the world at large. And, facing those changes, the town adeptly shifted modes, from finishing up its “renaissance” to devising its own stimulus package to eyeing a new renaissance.
Vail’s carefully planned “billion dollar renewal” came to life in 2008. After a long few years of construction, the town saw impressive fruits of its efforts. The Arrabelle at Vail Square, the Vail Plaza Hotel, the Front Door project, the Manor Vail remodel, Seibert Circle, the Willows and the Vail Mountainview Residences finished up, bringing much-needed new life that will help keep Vail competitive with other top-notch ski resorts.
With big projects such as the Four Seasons, Solaris and the Ritz-Carlton slated for completion over the next few years, it’s a time of transition for the town. One renaissance is nearly over, and it’s time to set sights on the next wave.
The town is working on those next wave projects ” most notably Ever Vail and the Lionshead parking structure” so Vail is ready when the environment’s right for those projects to happen.
In the meantime, as the economy reels, Vail has wisely both battened down the hatches and strengthened efforts to attract visitors, the town’s lifeblood. The Town Council cut spending for next year, but also approved a half-million dollars in extra marketing to attract skiers.
Vail has managed to keep a bunch of other balls in the air, from the redevelopment of Timber Ridge to the construction of a fire station-employee housing complex at Chamonix to creating lofty goals for green building and recycling. Good for Vail for taking on a bunch of big projects and making headway in a town where diverging opinions have been known to stall any semblance of progress.
And the town’s relations with Vail Resorts seem to have improved from a low point at this time last year. Case in point: the recent bowling night with Rob Katz and company. Clearly, that relationship has to be good for the community to make progress, including with Ever Vail.
In 2009, Vail should continue to work on realizing Ever Vail and the Lionshead parking structure, two projects that will bring lots of benefits to Vail, not the least of which are housing and parking, the stated top goals of the town. And the redevelopment of Timber Ridge, the town’s largest employee housing complex, will be an immense step toward creating more employee housing in Vail. Perhaps, in this go-round, a deal will actually be struck to make it happen.
Keep juggling, Vail. We hope the results will be a more vibrant resort and community in 2009 and beyond.