Vail real estate boom moving west |

Vail real estate boom moving west

Daily Staff Report

VAIL, Colo. With huge redevelopment projects changing the skylines in Vail Village and Lionshead as part of the resorts billion-dollar New Dawn, planners, developers and real estate experts are now looking westward.The town of Vail is amending its master plan for a new part of town West Lionshead, roughly half a mile of land west of the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa between Interstate 70 and Gore Creek with the ultimate goal being a third village of sorts, complete with a new, high-speed chairlift, new retail and entertainment establishments and, of course, new luxury homes.All this talk of a new village in Vail, with shopping, dining, mountain access and other resort amenities, has owners and brokers of existing properties on West Forest Road, a quiet street with a dozen or so homes overlooking Gore Creek and West Lionshead, realizing theyre sitting on some pretty hot property. Until now, theyve been relatively isolated, especially in winter; in a few short years, however, residents of West Forest Road will have all of that just a short walk away.Alan Goncharoff, a local developer and a partner in White Rock Real Estate, recently remodeled and listed a spacious four-bedroom, five-bathroom home at 736 W. Forest Rd., about a hundred yards from the bridge over Gore Creek. He says it wont take buyers long to realize a great investment.This neighborhood on West Forest Road is going to be a fabulous place to live, and for now its still a bargain, he says, adding prices already have nearly doubled on West Forest Road since he purchased the original, three-bedroom home a couple of years ago with plans to remodel. You have a quiet street overlooking Gore Creek, views across the valley and West Lionshead out your front door. In back, you look up through the aspens to the ski mountain.Luxury homesLeading the way is Gore Creek Place, a luxurious new enclave of private residencies by Vail Resorts Development Company nearing completion on the banks of Gore Creek, with a main entrance on West Forest Road. Buyers snapped up these properties almost immediately after they hit the market last summer, and all of the 3,500- to 4,400-square-foot homes are scheduled for completion by the end of this year. As well, Vail Resorts continues to work on plans for the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail, a luxurious development where West Forest Road meets South Frontage Road, formerly a parking structure and surface lot for resort employees. In the ski companys most recent announcements, the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail, will include 107 private, wholly owned luxury homes from two-bedroom apartments to six-bedroom penthouses adjacent to the new, proposed chairlift. These residencies have not yet been offered for sale.West Lionshead is a unique opportunity in many ways, says Jack Hunn, senior vice president of development for Vail Resorts Development Company. It accomplishes the towns goals of increasing bed base and retail space; it can extend the currently perceived western boundary of Lionshead; and it will be a large, planned section that will adhere to the standards currently being set by projects like the Marriott renovation and The Arabelle at Vail Square.A new liftMeanwhile, Vail Resorts also has announced plans to build a new high-speed chairlift that will deliver skiers and snowboarders from West Lionshead to the bottom of the Pride Express Lift, Chair 26, which continues on to Eagles Nest, at the top of Vail Mountain. The ski company already has purchased several properties at the bottom of the new chairlift, where preliminary plans call for a new parking structure and transportation center. If these moves pan out, West Lionshead will be a fifth portal to the ski mountain, relieving pressure on existing mountain-access points at Golden Peak, Vail Village, Lionshead and Cascade Village. Itll be a very good transit link, reducing demand at the other portals. Traffic, skier drop-off, mass-transit the whole scenario will be much better, says Jim Lamont, who works with planners from the town and Vail Resorts as executive director of the Vail Village Homeowners Association.Lamont also is lobbying for nightclubs and other entertainment venues as well as affordable housing to be included in the plans. I see it as an entertainment center for all age groups, especially young adults. In general, a lot of fun, high-end stuff will be coming to West Lionshead.Lamont says theres even discussion of realigning South Frontage Road to parallel I-70, creating a pedestrian-friendly village within West Lionshead, as well as a Simba Run Underpass linking South Frontage Road with its counterpart north of the interstate.Hunn says all these concepts and ideas have gelled over the last nine to 12 months.But there’s still a long way to go, Hunn says. In addition to finalizing plans, there are processes to go through with the town, CDOT, neighbors and the community before we can put a shovel in the ground.Bright futureJoni White Taylor of Sonnenalp Real Estate, whos been listing properties in Vail for 26 years, has a new, 3,617-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath home at 798 W. Forest Rd. on the market for $4.6 million, or about $1,270 per square foot. She expects values to rise dramatically in the next few years as West Lionshead evolves rivaling prices between Lionshead and Vail Village on East Forest Road and Beaver Dam Road at more than $2,000 per square foot. It looks like theres going to be a whole new village just down the street, with restaurants, shops, a high-speed lift. And everythings going to be brand new. It should be beautiful, White Taylor says. The future for this neighborhood is very bright.For more information on West Lionshead and real estate opportunities on West Forest Road, call White Rock Real Estate at 970-827-5600 or Sonnenalp Real Estate at 970-477-5300, or visit or Colorado

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