Vail duplex sale for a record $57.2 million shows the strength of the local market

One family paid cash for both halves of a duplex on Vail Road near the Vail Interfaith Chapel

A duplex on Vail Road near the Vail Interfaith Chapel sold in August 2020 for $57.2 million.
Scott Cramer Photography
How big is this deal? Think about this:
  • A duplex on Vail Road just sold for $57.2 million.
  • The former Vail Cascade, now a Grand Hyatt, sold for just less than $90 million in 2016.
  • The Four Seasons in Vail sold for $121 million in 2016.
  • The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek sold in 2017 for $145 million.

The biggest home sale in Vail was actually two sales.

Kevin Ness, a biotech entrepreneur, recently purchased a duplex on Vail Road for $57.25 million. The sale, like most high-end deals was a cash deal.

One of the duplex units is 8,500 square feet. The other is 6,500.

The original idea was that previous owner Alejandro Rojas would keep one of the units, but Ness made an irresistible offer.

Tye Stockton, leader of LIV Sotheby International Realty’s Stockton Team, represented the buyer in the deal.

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“My buyers fell in love,” Stockton said, adding that Ness said he was looking for a “generational” property for his family.

“We closed it in two weeks,” Stockton said.

Eustaquio Cortina of Ron Byrne and Associates Real Estate represented the seller in the deal.

Looked at as two sales — which is how the transaction will be recorded — the sale isn’t all that unusual.

Other big deals

Stockton’s firm also recently closed a $24 million deal for a home on Mill Creek Circle. That home was purchased sight unseen by an American family currently living in Paris.

Stockton said that even in the days before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a marketing plan for the Mill Creek Circle home that included drone video. There was also a lot of video conferencing as the deal was being put together.

Stockton said the Mill Creek Circle sale shows that some buyers are more comfortable buying virtually.

And, he added, the family won’t move into the home for another year. “They have time to make it really amazing,” Stockton said.

Byrne said putting the “really amazing” into homes means that even taken as one sale, the Vail Road transaction is relatively in line with what’s being done in Vail’s high-cost areas.

Byrne noted that owners of other homes in the same area of Vail have invested tens of millions of dollars in either renovating or rebuilding those units.

Byrne said another owner on Mill Creek Circle bought a home for about $16 million, then put almost another $30 million into upgrades.

A unit at the top of Bridge Street is another home with the better part of $40 million invested.

Byrne said those and other homes are “situations where people couldn’t find what they wanted, so they built magnificent homes.

Still a ‘game-changer’

But John Pfeiffer, managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said the Vail Road sale is a “game-changer” for the valley.

“It’s a testimonial to Vail, and how much people want to be here,” Pfeiffer said.

That level of demand in the market’s upper reaches sends a message, Pfeiffer said.

As people see others investing in the town, others see those deals as evidence Vail is a place they might want to be, Pfeiffer said.

“What’s happened is that as people have moved here for a week or a month … after experiencing our valley, they don’t want to leave,” Pfeiffer said.

The opportunity for remote work is also an opportunity to make a big change for a family.

The real estate market in general is very active right now. While inventory is low, so are interest rates. Buyers can afford more home for their money.

Stockton said his team is seeing a lot of the desire to relocate to the Vail Valley.

Stockton and other brokers for several months been talking about the Vail Valley as a safe haven for many buyers. A number of those buyers can live wherever they want, and have decided this is the place for their families.

“People are reshuffling their (financial) decks,” Stockton said. “If they don’t have a mountain property, they want one.”

Stockton said his team as already surpassed its 2019 sales volume.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at

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