President - Alan Kosloff     Secretary - Ellie Caulkins    Treasurer - Patrick Gramm    Executive Director  -  Jim Lamont

Directors:  Judith Berkowitz  -  Dolph Bridgewater  -  Richard Conn  -  Bob Galvin  -  Ron Langley

Gene Mercy  -  Bill Morton  -  Trygve Myhren  -  Gretta Parks


To:       Alan Kosloff, Board of Directors, Membership, and Interested Parties

From:   Jim Lamont

Date:    November 3, 2005

RE:       VVHA Position Statement for the proposed Vail Conference Center Election


The Association’s Board of Directors recommends the disapproval of the proposed Vail Conference Center.  This position is taken based upon our participation in the deliberations of the Conference Center Study Committee.  Further, we have respectfully taken into consideration the public statements and positions of community members on both sides of the issue.  Our recommendation is based upon the following conclusions.


1.      The Town of Vail doubled the zoning density in Vail Village and Lionshead as a subsidy to stimulate business and to increase private investment.   Creating an additional subsidy at this time is not warranted because business conditions will be steadily improving as construction on current projects is completed.


2.      There are other projects needing public investment that could more readily benefit the economic improvement of the community.  Consideration as to whether to build a publicly owned conference center is more appropriate after the completion of the private sector projects, currently under construction, are in operation. 


3.      Financial protections for Vail property owners, particular as it affects protections from unanticipated construction and operating cost, are insufficient.  The project contractor has agreed to a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) to construct the project, but has not agreed to further protect the project financing through a guaranteed performance bonding.  The agreement to a GMP does not preclude the project from being built to much lower standards.  There are still unknown costs to complete other supporting elements of the project.  The projected construction costs have increased by $20 million, without improving projected revenues.


4.      The proposal has not met consultant requirements for success, which are:  the community must be fully supportive of the project, and ease of access is guaranteed.    The community remains divided about the need for a conference center, which the result of the election, one way or another, will not be sufficient to gain full support of the community.   Interstate 70 will be under major reconstruction for the next twenty years and the Interstate is often closed due to weather and hazardous conditions. Therefore, access cannot be guaranteed.  The Association notes that the Town Council, in a tie vote, was unable to agree on a resolution of support to approve the ballot issue. 


5.      The versatility of the facility to adapt to other uses during non-peak conference seasons will be limited in its ability to generate revenues from a diversity of other sources. 


6.      The Association supported an iconic architectural design for the center.  The final design, due to budget limitations, does not meet that expectation.


The Association is distressed that professional consultants or contractors hired by the Town of Vail and who will directly benefit from the approval of the proposal, have chosen to become financial contributors in the election campaign.  Such action conveys the appearance that these parties are acting, not in the best interest of the community, but in their own self-interest.  The Association is affronted by those, who are not Town of Vail taxpayers, and seek to “buy” the outcome of the election.