Vail Valley Voices: Vail aim go grow globally
Vail, CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.
Vail’s internationalism effort broadening and moving forward: An informal Vail global perspective group has formed to discuss strategies for engaging long-term international interests both from a business and residential perspective.
There is recognition that the community’s residential ownership and visitor patterns are shifting towards globalization. The Vail Homeowners Association initiative encourages international owners to join in shaping the community.
The effort is aimed at preparing the business and residential ownership community to take advantage of encouraging programs and investments that build permanent cross-cultural relationships leading up to and beyond the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.
While many Latin Americans and other international visitors are English speakers, in a multicultural setting, giving a greeting and offering essential information in a visitor’s native tongue is a sign of respect.
The global perspective group sees a need to create awareness of the importance of training and employing a larger portion of the workforce that has multilingual and multicultural skills. From the standpoint of using advanced technology, public information sources should be made available in multilingual formats.
Guests, foreign and domestic, and most nonresident property owners do not distinguish the mosaic of communities between Vail on the east and Gypsum on the west. In their minds’ eye, it is all one place. Local barriers to marketing “Vail” as the global brand representing the length of the Eagle County Interstate 70 corridor should steadily bend to the perceptions of, and for the service of, the consumer.
Strata Project prepares for construction in Lionshead: The first private project in almost three years has submitted documents to obtain a building permit from the town of Vail.
The project received zoning and design approval just prior to the collapse of the real estate market in 2007. At the time, the Town Council gave a multiyear entitlement extension to several large projects, including Strata. Most of the extensions are expected to lapse within the coming months.
Strata is the only known prerecession-approved project moving toward construction. Strata will replace the Lionshead Inn and Annex adjacent to the Vail Spa complex.
According to town officials, the project on a nearly 1.6 acre site will contain 51 condominiums, 14 interval ownership dwelling units and 12 hotel rooms (lodge dwellings). Strata will build 183 parking spaces, 69 more than required, continuing a prerecession trend. Some projects now offer their excess parking for a fee to the public or others, which helps reduce the need and expense for the town of Vail to be the sole provider of public parking.
Ski and Snowboard Club Vail redevelopment proposal at Golden Peak: A proposal to redevelop the existing outdated Ski and Snowboard Club Vail building on Vail Valley Drive is under discussion between the club and town of Vail authorities.
The club’s race training program has grown in renown and in participants, from 50 at its inception in the 1970s to 600 currently. It has trained some of the leading racers on the national and international circuit.
Ski and Snowboard Club Vail intends to finance the structure through the incorporation of condominium units on a third floor of what is now a two-story structure. No residential uses now exist on the site.
An architect has been retained to design the new building to be compatible with its neighbors. The club will be having a dialogue with neighborhood property owners about any concerns they may have with their proposal. Vail Resorts has protective covenant responsibility for the site.
Timber Ridge design resubmitted one floor shorter: The town’s developer is resubmitting the Timber Ridge project for the town’s design review one floor shorter, but it would arguably still be one of the community’s largest appearing buildings.
The proposal to rebuild half of the town’s affordable housing complex has been under study since its purchase by the town of Vail in the mid-1990s for over $20 million.
For the town of Vail, the primary motivation to redevelop the project is debt reduction. The onset of the 2007 recession reduced demand for affordable housing, which softened along with the purchase price of workforce housing throughout the region.
The current Timber Ridge complex project has been fully rented by lowering the leases to a more competitive rate. This tactic, if prolonged, would put the existing project’s finances in a precarious competitive position because of its age and condition, according to town officials.
The question remains: Will the Town Council have to retreat from its earlier policy of acceptable terms and conditions that it held resolutely, such as renting only to local (working in Eagle County) employees? Another condition was to reduce its remaining purchase debt of nearly $18 million by half.
Vail Valley Medical Center and town of Vail redevelopment prospects: The outgoing Town Council approved moving forward with more detailed design and analysis for constructing two new office buildings on the town’s municipal complex site. One is to house functions related to the Vail Valley Medical Center, the second to provide new quarters for many of the administrative services of the town government.
When the medical center moves to use public property, it opens itself to a more inclusive partnership whereby the community’s citizens perceive that they now have a greater vested interest and should have greater input in guiding its success.
The Homeowners Association is working to ensure that earlier master planning commitments by the town of Vail to move vehicular access for the medical center from West Meadow Drive, where increasingly dangerous traffic congestion exists, to the South Frontage Road are fulfilled.
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