Vail nears new housing deal
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –Twenty months after the town of Vail began its hunt for potential Timber Ridge redevelopers, one developer has become the front runner – Vail Timber Ridge LLC.
The town bought Timber Ridge in 2003 in a move to keep affordable housing in place. The town has been trying to find a developer willing to take on the project for affordable housing, a task that has taken a long time.
The Vail Town Council is scheduled to vote on a pre-development agreement between the town, developer and the Timber Ridge Affordable Housing Corporation, the corporation established by the town of Vail to operate and manage Timber Ridge. Town Manager Stan Zemler is the president of the corporation.
The agreement would give Vail Timber Ridge LLC an exclusive option to redevelop the site. It would be the furthest the Town Council has gotten with redeveloping Timber Ridge since the town bought the property, said Community Development Director George Ruther.
“They seem to be very committed to making it work,” Councilwoman Kim Newbury said. “I’m very optimistic.”
The Texas-based developer was one of four finalists the Town Council and Vail Local Housing Authority interviewed last April. There were 10 responses to the town’s request for proposals last December – the pre-development agreement is the next step in the request for proposal process, Ruther said.
“It lays out the general parameters to begin discussions for the redevelopment,” Ruther said.
The redevelopment, which Councilman Mark Gordon said could break ground as early as next year if the developer submits an application the town can approve, would provide 570 employee housing beds on of the eastern five acres of the 10-acre property. Timber Ridge currently has 600 beds total.
Gordon said he saw a student housing development in Las Vegas built by the same developer and liked what he saw. Timber Ridge would have employee housing units with private bedrooms and bathrooms rather than the dormitory-style living it has now, Gordon said.
“There’s no dignity (at TImber Ridge now). This is going to provide dignity,” Gordon said. “It’s going to be great.”
If the Town Council approves the agreement, the developer would have to submit an initial application for the development by April 1, 2010. The agreement is good for two years, but either the town or the developer could terminate the deal with 30 days written notice before the end of two years.
The agreement is preliminary – neither the town nor the developer are agreeing to any detailed development plans. The plan is just a deal saying the two will work together long enough to see if the redevelopment will work.
Councilman Kevin Foley said he’s excited the town is getting closer on the project after so many years – especially with new projects like Solaris, the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons opening soon, which create more need for employees in town.
“If you don’t have employees, you’re not going to have a vibrant resort,” Foley said.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com