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Just how that building as a whole will be updated into the future is not clear, but will take a combination of economics, historical preservation, and safety upgrades, with the latter most important of the three, said the developer. The hotel has done a desultory business during the last couple of decades.


Bigger, better, more

VAIL, Colo. – Cranes continue to tower over Vail, which is in the midst of at least $1 billion redevelopment of base area lodging and commercial areas. But town officials have aggressively been seeking to spur even more redevelopment, offering the Lions Head Parking Structure as the site.

The town hopes to get another hotel, more parking spaces, and also some conference space out of the deal. Town voters three years ago authorized a lodging tax to pay for a conference center, but when projected operating costs escalated, they balked at taxpayer subsidies. In response, town officials then asked for proposals from developers.

Two developers remain as candidates for the new project. East West Partners, which is based locally, has been doing major projects from Denver to Truckee. New to the Vail scene as a developer is Open/Hillwood. The company is reported to be directed by Ross Perot Jr. Both Perot and his father, H. Ross Perot Sr., a presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996, have had homes in Vail for long periods.

The Vail Daily said both projects that are finalists would exceed $500 million in cost, and the two would add either 350 or 455 new parking spaces to the existing 1,150. East West already has an alliance with Hyatt on a project to the west, at the base of Beaver Creek, and it proposes a 150-room called Hyatt on Vail Mountain. Room rates would average $275.

Perot’s company proposes 240 hotel rooms, to be operated by W (at a cost of $423 per night) and St. Regis ($383 per night).

Both proposals also call for a variety of timeshare, condos, and shops, plus various wellness centers, recreation centers, a bus station, and conference space of some sort.

The timeline calls for construction in 2008, completion in 2010.


Democrats gain across west

Democrats continued to make inroads in courthouses of the West’s resort valleys on Nov. 7. Election results demonstrate growing dissatisfaction by voters with rapid population growth and distended economies that increasingly make mountain valleys unaffordable to lower and even middle-income workers.

In Eagle County, where Vail is located, Democratic candidate Sara Fisher was elected, joining two other Democrats who have been aggressively addressing impacts of rapid population growth. It was the first time that Democrats owned the courthouse since the mid-1950s. Voters, however, rejected home-rule by a margin of 54 to 46 per cent.

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