|'It is the people's
land' - Lionshead Parking structure proposals
Open Hospitality Group/Hillwood
Capital of Dallas is proposing a visual and performing arts
center as part of its proposal for the Lionshead garage land.
Special to the Daily
November 23, 2006
VAIL - Councilman Greg Moffet said it's too soon
for residents to endorse one developer or the other to redevelop the
Lionshead parking structure.
"Let the competitive process play itself out, because we can all
benefit from that," he said.
Still, the council listened to the public for about an hour on Tuesday
on what they think of the $500 million proposals to redevelop the
Two developers - East West Partners of Avon and Open Hospitality
Group/Hillwood Capital of Dallas - have submitted proposals for the
land that each include public parking, hotel rooms, condos,
timeshares, a civic center, shops and a bus hub. The town could pick
one of the developers to redevelop the site or choose not to do
Some liked one proposal more than the other, while other residents
spoke in more general terms about what they'd like to see in the
East West Partners of Avon is
proposing a civic center as part of its concept for the Lionshead
parking garage site.
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Cope, general manager of the Lodge Tower in Vail, said he likes the
idea of a large ballroom that would bring conferences to town and
business to local hotels.
"It could do a great deal for the town," he said.
Cope note that he's spent a lot of time studying the conference center
business as Vail has wrestled with several conference center proposals
over the last few years. Vail voters shot down a publicly funded
conference center in November 2005.
Billy Suarez, owner of Billy's Island Grill, said perhaps the town
needs to step back and consider what the best use of the land is.
"It is the people's land," he said. "Maybe we can think of better
'I'd love to have silence'
Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County,
urged the council to look closely at the financial plans of both
"That's sometimes an overlooked issue," he said.
Cohen cited the stalled "Ruins" project that stood beside the Vail
Cascade Resort and Spa for decades.
Robert Aikens, owner of Verbatim Booksellers, said he wants a break
from the construction that has been going steady in Vail for several
years as part of the town's "billion-dollar renewal."
"I'd love to have silence for at least one year,"
Councilman Kent Logan said the town would be in effect selling the
land, although the council is not rushing forward with any action.
"None of us feel any pressure to do anything anytime soon," he said.
Though the town would be selling the land, it would get lots of things
in return, Logan said. For one, the town would replace an aging
parking garage and getting another 200 to 300 public parking spaces,
Logan said. He also cited road improvements, employee housing and more
customers for local businesses.
"We're taking the value of this property and we're turning it into
other assets," he said.
The town has a timeline that has the council
making a decision in December. Councilman Farrow Hitt noted that that
schedule has been pushed back once and probably will be pushed back
"There is no gun to our head to make this decision now," he said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO