Work should start this year on Plaza Hotel
Vail’s reconstruction marches on.The latest project to add to the drumbeat of renovation is the Vail Plaza Hotel, to be built where the Vail Village Inn now sits vacant.After receiving a 60-day extension on a deadline to obtain a town building permit, demolition of the old hotel and two other buildings – including the old Craig’s Market – is expected to start some time in November. The schedule calls for the hotel to open by the start of the 2006-07 ski season.”The various boards agreed that if (developer Waldir Prado) was serious about getting started, we’d give him an opportunity to do that, which is why he received an extension,” Vail Planner George Ruther said.And Prado said he’s serious.The project, which was originally approved in 2002, had stalled due to litigation with a Vail Gateway condominium owner and other issues, Ruther said. That litigation was finally settled in Prado’s favor late last year.”We immediately started work on architectural drawings, construction drawings,” Prado said.
At a recent Vail Town Council meeting, Prado said the extension will provide enough time to get the final details of the plan hammered out. While the new deadline for the project to have its permits is Nov. 15, Prado said he wants those permits by September.The permits and finalizing the financing package are the last two items on the large “to do” list required to get started. Prado said he and a lender are close to a contract. An appraisal of the property has been scheduled, one of the last steps toward finishing that end of the preparatory work.”Anything can happen, but we expect to start work this fall,” Prado said.When complete, the Plaza Hotel will have 99 new hotel rooms and 50 “fractional fee” or timeshare units. The new hotel rooms will be bigger than the ones at the old hotel, project architect Tim Losa of Zehren and Associates said. The rooms will also have Internet access and other modern amenities.”We’ll be glad to have that vacant eyesore gone,” Vail Gateway manager Kevin Deighan said. “From a Vail Gateway perspective it doesn’t really affect us, but as a citizen of Vail, I can’t wait for them to start.”The business owners at Vail Village Inn Plaza are eager, too.”I’ll believe it when I see it, but it’s an incredibly big deal for us,” Verbatim Booksellers co-owner Robert Aiken said.
Aiken said more than 75 percent of his business comes from tourists and second-home owners these days. With the Plaza Hotel, an anticipated Four Seasons hotel at the old Chateau site and an all-new condominium project at the former Sonnenalp Swiss House site, he and his neighbors will be well-situated in the future.For now, though, “They really need to tear down the old one,” Aiken said.
The new Vail Plaza Hotel will have: 249 underground parking spaces 99 new hotel rooms 50 “fractional fee” (timeshare) units 38 beds of employee housing 2 restaurants 1 bar 1 free-market condo