Where will you catch the bus in Lionshead? | VailDaily.com

Where will you catch the bus in Lionshead?

Special to the DailyVail Resorts has submitted plans for a 120-bedroom affordable housing complex with a bus station on the first floor.

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Resorts has submitted a plan to build the 120 beds of worker housing it promised as part of the Arrabelle at Vail Square project.

The company plans a five-story affordable-housing complex on the North Day Lot, which is now a parking lot in Lionshead.

But there are still some questions about what Vail Resort will actually build.

“We think there are some decisions for the town to make,” Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Broomfield-based Vail Resorts, said Thursday.

The town has asked Vail Resorts to include a bus station ” which the town would pay for ” in the North Day Lot complex. Vail Resorts included that in its proposal, saying it would cost $14.4 million.

That’s “on the high end” of what the town expected to pay, said Greg Hall, Vail’s director of public works.

The town is hoping to use federal grants for part of that cost, and additional funds could come from “tax increment financing.”

Vail Resorts suggested, instead, putting the bus stop in Ever Vail, the $1 billion “green village” planned for West Lionshead. That would cost less, the company said.

And the affordable housing on the North Day Lot will be ready a lot sooner if the bus station is put elsewhere, the company wrote in a Feb. 22 letter.

Neighbors of the North Day Lot have objected to the project, particularly the transit hub, saying it would be too noisy and smelly.

But Hall said there needs to be a transit center in Lionshead and Ever Vail ” not one or the other.

“When you start talking about (Ever Vail) as the only stop for Lionshead, that’s a little ways or people in Lionshead to walk,” Hall said.

Vail Mayor Dick Cleveland declined to comment on the specifics of the proposal, but said Lionshead needs a transit center, and that the council will consider all scenarios.

“We’re keeping our options open,” Cleveland said.

The $600 million proposal for the Lionshead parking structure includes a transit center. But that plan isn’t a done deal. To complicate matters, Vail Resorts has “protective covenants” that give it the final say over whether that project ” proposed by a Texas development group led by Ross Perot Jr. ” will even happen.

Vail Resorts was given until Feb. 25 to submit a plan for the 120 beds of employee housing that it agreed to build for the Arrabelle project. The project must begin by May 2009.

In the time leading up to the opening of the Arrabelle, the town of Vail and Vail Resorts wrangled over the housing requirements for the $250 million project. Vail Resorts said it was in compliance with the requirements, while the town said it was not. Vail Resorts ended up posting a $17.3 million letter of credit and agreeing to a timeline to provide the housing.

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

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