West End project in Edwards has plans out to a host of local, state, federal agencies, organizations
Proposed development would include 275 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments
The West End project in Edwards is in a new phase, and developers are hoping for approval later this year.
Project developer East West Partners recently sent referral notices about the nearly 900-page application for the project to county, state and federal agencies, along with utility companies and a number of local special districts.
What: The West End project.
Location: Edwards, west of the Gashouse restaurant
What’s proposed: 275 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Deed restrictions: Half the units will be deed-restricted to local residents.
The referral notice for the project just west of the Gashouse restaurant was sent to just about every county department. Special district, utility and organization referrals range from the Colorado River Water Conservation District to the Eagle Valley Library District and the Eagle County Historical Society.
Jim Telling, East West’s Vail Valley Managing Partner, said those referral comments are due back by Feb. 24 to the county’s planning department. County planners will by March 6 create a synopsis of the comments.
That means the proposal could have its first Eagle County Planning Commission hearings in March, April or May, depending on whether a second round of referral requests is needed.
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The original idea for the property, first proposed before the national recession that began in 2008, was for a combination of residential and commercial space on the 5.3-acre site.
The project has gone through other iterations before East West acquired the property. Telling said the company has spent untold hours with its own planners, as well as architects and designers.
The company has also “done a fair amount” of outreach to metropolitan districts and other organizations in Edwards. The company has also had a representative at monthly meetings of the Edwards Metropolitan District.
Telling said he and the team have already heard concerns about traffic, as well as the possibility of unleashed pets in the adjacent Eagle County Preserve open space.
Telling said the plan envisions a fence and gates between the West End and Eagle County Preserve, with limited access and signs reminding residents to leash up their pets.
Traffic is more complex. The proposal includes a “loop road” into and out of the project. Access and egress would be handled with a pair of access points that allow only right turns into and out of the project.
The eastern access will build a new road between the Gashouse and the Edwards Commercial Plaza, a complex that includes Fiesta’s Café & Cantina.
That road agreement, which takes up about 200 pages of the overall development application, was forged by the previous landowner, Telling said.
Telling said access to the project will work much like the roundabout in front of Vail Health Hospital in Vail or out of the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. Those traffic patterns require people leaving the property to turn right and head to the next roundabout.
Half of the project’s proposed 275 units will be deed-restricted. Telling said that restriction will follow a pattern established in other recent projects. Those restrictions require residents to work an average of 32 hours per week in Eagle County.
As you’d expect, Telling and other East West officials are hoping for a relatively quick approval process from the planning commission to the Eagle County Commissioners. That board has final approval authority.
What will residents think?
But Edwards resident Chris Neuswanger isn’t certain that approval will be quick.
Neuswanger was a vocal critic of the Edwards RiverPark plan. That plan was ultimately approved by the commissioners in October of 2021 when the developers increased the amount of deed-restricted housing on the 55.6-acre site. The project, which ultimately went through 13 public hearings, drew heated opposition from some residents.
Neuswanger said when combined with RiverPark and other proposed developments, West End would simply put too many new residents in Edwards.
Taken in total, the proposed developments would be roughly equivalent to building another Singletree subdivision, Neuswanger said. That would come without a corresponding upgrade in the community’s road and utility infrastructure, he added.
West End is “going to be of considerable concern,” Neuswanger said.
If approved, West End will be owned and operated by East West Partners.
While East West Hospitality manages thousands of lodging units, West End will be the firm’s first venture into running units that it has built.
But, Telling said, West End could be just the start of involvement in the apartment business. The firm is working on a project in Denver’s Cherry Creek area, and is redoing the base area at the Steamboat ski area. The company is also redeveloping the base area at Snowmass.