A plan worth considering
It’s still early, but at first blush, the idea to transform the site of the old Roost Lodge in Vail into building with both hotel rooms and apartments looks like a good idea.
As detailed in a story on Saturday, the Chicago-based Harp Group has for several years owned the roughly two acres of land the Roost occupied. A company plan to build a Marriott Residence Inn was ready to start work in 2014, but it was shelved when a financial partner decided the project was simply too expensive.
Two years later, the hotel plan remains, with additional plans for 113 apartments and 360 spaces of underground parking.
On the surface, the plan strikes at the heart of three of Vail’s biggest issues: lodging, housing and parking. The site seems appropriate, since it’s right along North Frontage Road and close to the West Vail commercial area. Once the new Interstate 70 underpass is finished — it will be by the time the hotel and apartments open — tenants and guests will have a very quick bus ride to Lionshead Village.
On the other hand, don’t expect any bargains.
Hotel rooms won’t be as expensive as they are in the resort villages, but combining the Marriott Residence Inn brand with Vail quality, this will be a place for destination guests.
The same is true with the apartments. Harp Group founder and president Peter Dumon said in an interview that the apartments will be restricted to year-round residents. But, he added, those residents will pay market rates. That means tenants will likely be store or restaurant managers, executive chefs or professional employees at Vail Valley Medical Center.
That’s fine. Vail is in desperate need of homes for all kinds of people who work there. More people living and working in Vail takes pressure off roads, parking structures and housing in other areas of the valley. It also helps keep Vail a place where people actually live.
A new hotel from an established brand might — might — also take away at least some of the incentive condo owners now have to put their units into the online short-term rental pool.
Very few projects emerge unchanged from the town of Vail’s approval process. This one deserves a full vetting, of course, but needs to come through that process with its most important numbers intact.