Vail may get more than it’s giving away |

Vail may get more than it’s giving away

Special to the DailyA developer's plan to put hotels, condominiums and shops cmes with $80 million in public improvements, an analysis says.

VAIL ” If the town decides to redevelop the Lionshead parking structure, it would be giving away land worth $75 million, according to an appraisal.

But the town would get public improvements worth $81.9 million, another study says That’s one conclusion from a group of studies on the Lionshead garage recently commissioned by the town.

“The obvious ‘Ah ha’ is that, though it’s certainly not overwhelming, we’ll get more benefits in public improvements than what would be the underlying value of the property after you impose all the conditions we imposed on it,” said Town Manager Stan Zemler.

But Zemler noted that the public benefits added up in the study don’t include money from sales tax, tax increment financing and other taxes.

Open Hospitality Partners/Hillwood Capital, a Texas developer, wants to rebuild the town-owned parking garage into condos, timeshares, two hotels, stores, restaurants, a conference center and even more parking.

The Town Council is supposed to decide March 20 whether to proceed with the $600 million project.

The studies include two appraisals, a financial analysis and a study of the construction timeline. The town released some of the studies’ findings Monday.

The value of the land, including all of the requirements the town has for it ” including public parking, a bus station, stores, meeting space and hotels ” is $75 million, according to Denver-based Rocky Mountain Valuations. It is $61 million-$70 million, according to another appraisal by Denver-based Bowes and Company.

Without all of the town’s requirements, the land is worth $140 million, according to Rocky Mountain Valuations. Bowes and Company says it’s worth $145 million.

The developer has enough money to do the project, the financial study says.

“The Hillwood/OHP team appears to have the vision and the financial capability and strength to develop and timely complete the project in a cooperative partnership with the town of Vail,” the study says.

The construction study says the timeline is “achievable” but warns that there is “little or no room for error.”

“Yes, you can get it done, but it’s tight,” Zemler said.

Weather delays, material shortages or labor shortages could delay the schedule, the study says.

The Town Council will talk about the studies at its meeting tonight.

The Lionshead garage, built in 1981, needs significant repairs if it is not torn down in the next few years, the town says. It has 1,150 public parking spaces.

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

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