Vail nixes Lionshead garage renovation deal
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Texas developer Mark Masinter walked away empty-handed Tuesday night as the Vail Town Council voted against an exclusive development option for the Lionshead parking structure.
Masinter said he was surprised at the vote – Councilwoman Margaret Rogers, who had previously supported Masinter and seemed to support a development option, voted against the deal.
“I have too much invested (into the project),” Masinter said. “I’ll be back.”
The deal would have given Masinter and Open Hillwood Partners, Vail One, LLC., an exclusive option to redevelop the Lionshead parking structure for five years, or three years from the date Vail Resorts lifted its deed restriction on the site, whichever came first.
Rogers said that after researching and scrutinizing the deal she didn’t feel comfortable approving a deal that she said wouldn’t benefit the town. She also said the deal wouldn’t give the town any rights.
The money Masinter would pay the town under the deal would only be applied toward the project, she said.
“The town will have held up any kind of redevelopment of the structure for up to five years for nothing,” Rogers said. “All the money goes to the benefit to the project.”
Councilman Mark Gordon, who supported the deal, said it was really only a 30-day deal, not a five-year deal, because of a 30-day opt-out clause.
That clause would expire, however, once Masinter paid the town $500,000 to enter into the option, which would have happened once Vail Resorts lifted its deed restriction.
Community members spoke out both in favor of the deal and against it at the meeting. Those for it said the developer has worked so well with the community and the town and he should have the first option to redevelop. Greg Moffet said the deal would have shown good faith, and also gotten the Lionshead parking structure replaced on a private developer’s dime instead of the town’s.
Those against the deal said the town would be tying its hands to one option – not smart in the current economy,.
Rayla Kundolf, a Vail resident, said the council needs to revisit what the true needs of the town are before approving an exclusive deal.
“The best deal wins,” Kundolf said. “Why do we have to give this contract?”
Council members who opposed the deal – Rogers, Kevin Foley, Andy Daly and Mayor Dick Cleveland – all said they respected Masinter and their decisions had nothing to do with him personally.
“Mark (Masinter) is a gentleman and I’m proud to call him a friend,” Cleveland said.