Vail Resorts moving forward with Ever Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL – Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz answered the burning question he said many have had about the company’s pro-posed Ever Vail project – why is the com-pany planning such a large-scale project in the midst of an unreliable real estate mar-ket and sluggish economy?
Katz assured the Vail Town Council on Tuesday that Vail Resorts wouldn’t start building anything until the markets rebound and existing real estate invento-ry in town starts to sell. In the meantime, though, Katz wants the ball rolling on Ever Vail so when markets do come back, the project is ready to go.
“There is no question that in this market today we would not launch this project,” Katz said. “Timing is everything with proj-ects like these.”
Ever Vail, a project that includes parking, hotel space, employee-housing units, retail, free-market condominiums, deed-restricted units and a new gondola access-ing Vail Mountain, among other things, is a $1 billion investment for Vail Resorts – an investment to which the company is committed, Katz said.
“I can’t stress enough that we are really looking for community and (town) coun-cil input into this project,” Katz said. “We want this to be something the community can rally around.”
Some council members have ques-tioned whether Vail needs a fifth portal onto the mountain in recent discussions about the project. Councilman Kevin Foley asked whether improving the Cascade Vil-lage portal would be more viable.
Councilwoman Susie Tjossem asked whether Vail Resorts saw Ever Vail as more of a third portal, though, since Cascade Vil-lage and Golden Peak are more auxiliary portals, she said.
Katz agreed, citing parking as the main reason that Cascade and Golden Peak aren’t being upgraded before adding a fifth portal. It’s parking that drives a lot of the planning and discussion around Ever Vail. The project would provide a total of 1,551 parking spaces, a number that could go up or down by the time anything gets approved, said Dominic Mauriello, of Avon-based Mauriello Planning Group LLC, a consultant for the project.
Of that number, the required parking to supply the project itself includes 798 spaces plus 400 public skier spaces and 318 so-called replacement spaces from other projects the company has built in town.
Mayor Dick Cleveland questioned the 400 public spaces, citing the study that pro-vided that minimum number as seven years old and likely outdated.
“I think we’re under-providing parking if that’s the number we’re working from,” Cleveland said.
Councilman Andy Daly said the council was working on the real, overall parking requirements for the town – numbers that include things like frontage-road spaces, the Chamonix site, trailheads and parks – all spaces that need to be incorporated into the total estimate the town needs, he said.
“We need to develop a consistent report-ing system for identifying the total number of cars we’re dealing with,” Daly said. “We need a long-term solution we can live with.” Ever Vail has a long path ahead. Once the project gets through the town’s application and approval process, which could take another year, the first phase of the project would be to realign the frontage road – a 12- to 18-month construction project.
Then, as Katz said, the market has to rebound before the company would move forward, but when the rebound happens, Ever Vail will be ready and waiting.
“I can’t stress enough that a project like this needs to get going right when the mar-ket rebounds,” Katz said. “Even if we do all our work and the project is ready to go and the market is not ready, that’s better than trying to rush.”
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