Vail Resorts wary of garage project
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Resorts won’t allow the $900 million Lionshead parking structure project to break ground until another new parking garage ” at its Ever Vail project ” is completed, CEO Rob Katz said in a letter dated Friday.
That might slow the commencement of the Lionshead project, which could bring a conference center, a transit center and new public parking, stores and restaurants to Vail.
Katz apparently wasn’t satisfied with a new parking plan presented last month that would keep all of the current 1,150 spaces open during the years-long Lionshead construction.
“We would not be prepared to have construction on the (Lionshead) project commence until the Ever Vail parking structure was operational, as we are well aware that even the best plans can sometimes run into scheduling or other difficulties,” Katz wrote.
Vail Resorts’ Ever Vail project is a $1 billion “green” village in West Lionshead that includes a public parking garage. Ever Vail was once scheduled to be completed in 2012, but Vail Resorts has already pushed back sales of homes there, partly due to the sluggish economy.
Meanwhile, the Lionshead parking structure project ” which includes condos, timeshares, public parking, a conference center, stores, restaurants and a transit center ” would be built where the current Lionshead parking structure is. The project ” proposed by a Texas development group, is on town-owned land, and is moving through a town approval process.
But because Vail Resorts, which donated the land to the town decades ago, holds a “deed restriction” on the land, it must approve the project, too.
Still, Katz said he’s ready to search for “ultimate commitment” from the Dallas group, Open Hospitality Partners/Hillwood Capital, which includes Ross Perot Jr., the son of the former presidential candidate.
“We would conduct a review of the balance sheets and track records of the financial partners, talking with the senior executives making financial commitments and deriving their level of ultimate commitment to the completion of the project,” he wrote.
But a “dismal” market for real-estate financing is cause for concern, Katz added.
In the letter sent to the Town Council, Katz said he liked some facets of the proposal.
“The addition of new retail, W and St. Regis hotels, new conference facilities and a transit center would all be very welcome to everyone,” Katz wrote.
Mark Masinter, who represents the Texas developer in its dealings with Vail, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The Town Council could consider a conditional approval of the Lionshead project later this month. The needed rezoning for Ever Vail could be considered by the council in September.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.