Vail starts over on worker housing complex
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail is back to the drawing board in its attempts to redevelop Timber Ridge, the town’s biggest affordable housing complex.
For now, that means a new committee.
The Town Council decided Tuesday to create the Timber Ridge Redevelopment Advisory Committee to work toward holding another open-bidding process for the redevelopment of Timber Ridge.
“I think the steps that are being proposed are reasonable,” said Mayor Dick Cleveland.
The group will be made up of Town Council members Margaret Rogers and Mark Gordon, two members of Vail’s housing authority and three other community members.
The town had worked for months with a Texas developer Open Hospitality Partners/Hillwood Capital/Lincoln Property Company on a plan to redevelop the aging complex. But the Town Council abruptly dropped talks last month, saying they weren’t happy with the plan.
At Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, some said they were frustrated that the town had abandoned those efforts.
“I can’t believe that we’re starting over on this,” said Vail resident Kaye Ferry, saying that the Texas developer had been accommodating of the town’s wishes.
Councilman Farrow Hitt said another committee was unnecessary.
“I just think we’re forming another committee to add another layer of bureaucracy,” Hitt said.
The town already knows what it wants at Timber Ridge, Hitt said. He wants to see housing built quickly, he said.
The Town Council has identified housing as a top priority for the town.
Redevelopment is creating more jobs in town, while rising housing prices and an influx of second-home owners are pushing workers farther from Vail.
The 198-apartment Timber Ridge needs almost $2.5 million in repairs over the next seven years if it is not redeveloped. It has leaky roofs, loose railings and is missing floorboards, a 2007 report said.
A “request for proposals” issued in 2005 got a bid from one developer, Corum Real Estate Group. That proposal was also dropped by the Town Council, in 2006.
The town also got a proposal last year from Vail Resorts to redevelop Timber Ridge but declined to pursue it. In the winter, the ski company leases almost all of the units for its employees, such as lift operators, snowcat drivers and snowmakers.
Vail bought Timber Ridge ” across Interstate 70 from the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa and Vail Mountain ” in 2003 to save it as employee housing. It retains almost $22 million in debt on the property. The town has sought to get rid of that debt through a redevelopment deal.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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