VR’s Timber Ridge plan not winning fans | VailDaily.com

VR’s Timber Ridge plan not winning fans

VAIL ” The Vail Town Council apparently has some big concerns with Vail Resorts’ offer to rebuild the Timber Ridge complex, the town’s biggest affordable-housing complex.

Part of the concern with the Vail Resorts’ proposal is that it would have parking lots, not a garage, said Town Manager Stan Zemler said. That decreases density on one of the last big, town-owned, developable pieces of land, he said.

The Town Council will discuss the proposal at its meeting Tuesday night.

Vail Resorts has offered to lease five-sevenths of the 10-acre, town-owned property for 99 years for $15.8 million. The company needs a plan to create 144 affordable-housing beds before it’s allowed to open its Arrabelle at Vail Square project in Lionshead. The Arrabelle is set to open next month.

The town is considering two proposals for Timber Ridge ” one from Vail Resorts and one from Open Hospitality Group/Hillwood Capital, the developer that wants to rebuild the Lionshead parking structure.

Vail Resorts would build 840 beds on the site in two-, three- and four-bedroom units. The complex now has 600 beds.

Last Tuesday, the council met with Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz and other top Vail Resorts officials behind closed doors to discuss the plan. The council said the proposal doesn’t meet Vail Resorts’ promises and “simply delayed the fulfillment of these obligations to some uncertain time in the future,” Zemler said Thursday in a memo.

In the proposal, Vail Resorts reserves the right to meet its housing requirements in other ways, including buying beds from the Open/Hillwood group, building employee housing somewhere else, paying $17 million in fees or buying deed restrictions for homes around Vail.

That adds up to a lot of maybes, Zemler said.

“In a lot of ways, it’s hard to see a clear path,” he said.

In the memo, the town suggests that Vail Resorts put up a letter of credit in the amount of $17.3 million that the town could cash if the company does not meet its housing requirements. Putting up that money would allow the hotel and stores in the Arrabelle to open, according to the memo.

The Open/Hillwood plan isn’t complete, either, in part because there are holes in its financing, Zemler said.

Collaboration between the two developers will help both of them, Zemler said.

“I think they could use each other, but so far that hasn’t come to fruition,” he said.

Kent Logan, a councilman who has previously expressed concern about Vail Resorts’ Timber Ridge plan, declined to discuss the plan Monday, saying he would reserve comment until tonight’s meeting.

Keith Fernandez, president of Vail Resorts Development Company, did not immediately return a phone message left Monday.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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