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Vail Marriott Residence Inn approved in smaller form

Current plan has fewer rooms, workforce housing units than large project approved in 2017

A new, approved plan for a Marriott Residence In at the old Roost Lodge site in West Vail is significantly smaller than a project approved in 2017.
By the numbers
  • 146: Lodging rooms in a 2020 approval for a Marriott Residence Inn in West Vail.
  • 9: “Dormitory-style” workforce housing beds in that same approval.
  • 170: Lodging rooms in a 2017 approval for the same property.
  • 96: Deed-restricted workforce housing units in that 2017 approval.

A Marriott Residence Inn will be built on the former Roost Lodge site in West Vail. This one is significantly different — and smaller — than a project approved in 2017 for the same property.

The 1.99-acre property has changed hands since 2017, and is now owned by Sunridge Hotel Group, a Phoenix-based, family-owned group with hotels in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and California.

When the Vail property was put on the market in 2019, it came with a town of Vail approval for a much larger facility that included more rooms and more than 100 apartments.

That project faced vigorous opposition from neighbors worried about the size, traffic and other impacts from the project. But after the project received town approval the developers, the Chicago-based Harp Group, went virtually silent.

A new direction

The property was purchased earlier this year by Sunridge.

The property in 2017 received approval for what Vail calls a “special development district.” That designation creates, in essence, specific requirements for a project. Those requirements often exceed limits imposed by existing zoning.

In this case, the town approved the special district in large part to bring nearly 100 deed-restricted housing units into the town’s inventory.

When Sunridge came to the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission, the new plan complied with existing zoning. That means the current project is smaller in terms of hotel rooms. It also means there’s much less workforce housing — nine “dormitory style” beds in five rooms.

“We just wanted to create something that fit well with the property,” Bradon Welker, part of the family that owns Sunridge, said.

To do that, the Sunridge team “came up with a design what would fit well … and accommodate our investment.”

‘Back to where it started’

Sunridge has more than 20 years of history with the Marriott brand. Over the years the company has received several Marriott awards, from management to guest satisfaction.

Eagle-based land planner Dominic Mauriello has worked on a few iterations of plans for a hotel on the property.

Mauriello said the current plan is largely “back to where it started … at one point the hotel was attached to condos, then it was a straight hotel and then the big one with workforce housing and a big hotel.”

Mauriello said the current proposal is “the best looking of all the projects,” with plenty of wood and stone.

This project also took a much lower-profile trip through the town’s approval process. The project approved in February of 2017 usually nearly filled the Town Council chambers for both council and planning board meetings.

Far fewer people commented on this application than the previous, larger project.

While the current proposal is significantly smaller than the previous one, Mauriello said some of the amenities proposed for the larger project have made it through to this one, including extending the town’s recreation path, providing the town an easement for a bus shelter and a left turn lane for eastbound traffic from the West Vail interchange.

‘Perfect fit’

Still, this project doesn’t have the workforce housing pledged by the Harp Group.

Vail Housing Director George Ruther said the previous plan was a “great public-private partnership for housing and accommodation units.”

But, Ruther added, the current project will be a “good opportunity” for the town, which has long sought more mid-priced lodging units for the town.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to be in Vail,” Welker said. “We feel what we’ve come up with is a perfect fit for an extended stay hotel.”

The company plans to start construction in the spring on 2021. If that happens, the hotel should be open for business by the start of the 2022-2023 ski season.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com.


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