West Vail hotel owners propose expansion plan
Proposal would add rooms, employee housing to Doubletree by Hilton
- 79 new hotel rooms.
- 12 employee housing bedrooms.
- 16 employee housing units in a new building.
- Eliminating office space in favor of meeting space.
VAIL — Changes may be coming to West Vail’s only hotel.
The owners of the Doubletree by Hilton in West Vail are proposing adding a new wing to the hotel, more than doubling the current number of rooms. The plan also adds a 12-room dormitory on the existing hotel, adds a new, 16-unit apartment building and eliminates current office space in favor of meeting space.
The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission Monday got its first look at the plan during a work session.
The expansion plan will require rezoning the parcel, and the owners have requested a “Special Development District” designation. The rezoning is needed because the hotel doesn’t comply with its current zoning — the hotel was first built in unincorporated Eagle County, then annexed into Vail, de-annexed and annexed again.
Commission member John-Ryan Lockman noted that a number of properties in the area have similar histories.
Because of its current zoning, the hotel can’t be expanded.
Developer/owner Mark Mutkowski told the commission that the Doubltree property presents an “opportunity” to add more active hotel rooms, calling it a “relatively affordable product in an accessible location.”
While project planner Dominic Mauriello said the proposal meets many of the town’s economic and housing goals, some neighbors expressed some reservations.
Resident Mike Spiers said he’s worried about the height of the proposed additions.
“I’m concerned about the nature of the neighborhood changing,” Spiers said, adding that he worries that the proposed apartment building could block the sun to a portion of Chamonix Lane.
But resident Pam Stenmark said the proposal seems to offer “infill” development — rebuilding on an existing site.
Commission members also weighed in on what they’d like to see as the proposal evolves.
Member Rollie Kjesbo said he wants a commitment to build the apartment building at the same time the hotel expansion takes place.
“I’m concerned that everything else gets done and employee housing doesn’t,” Kjesbo said.
Fellow commission member Brian Gillette noted that the town is starting work on a master plan for West Vail — a plan intended to guide future development.
“If we do the master plan right, we could have incentives to redevelop on a grander scale,” Gillette said, adding that it would benefit both the developer and the town to wait until the master plan is finished.
Lockman agreed with Gillette, adding that he “struggles” with building more height and density in an area that surrounded by residential areas to the north and west.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2930.
For downvalley humans, it’s pretty cool when elk decide to hunker down around Eagle for the winter. For the elk, it’s more of a lesser-of-two-evils situation.