Vail Resorts-town relations on the mend
Vail, resort officials ready to work together after a rocky past
Vail — At a meeting between Vail Resorts and Vail town officials Tuesday night, pins clashed – not tempers.
Vail Town Council members and Vail Resorts representatives, including CEO Rob Katz and Vail Resorts Development Co. President Keith Fernandez, had a relaxed night of bowling at Eagle’s Back Bowl as a way to improve a relationship that, at times, has been strained during the past year and a half.
The town and the resort have been at odds regarding everything from worker housing requirements to redeveloping Timber Ridge. However, representatives from both sides now say they feel that animosity is behind them and that the town and the resort are ready to work together.
“I’m hoping we can rebuild the trust between the two organizations, so that when we disagree, it’s not personal,” Vail Mayor Dick Cleveland said. “There have been lots of concerns about the relationship, but our goal is to get on the same page.”
Vail Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said the relationship probably was at one of its worse points when she joined the council about a year ago. At that point, Vail Resorts’ Arrabelle at Vail Square was completed, and the town and the company clashed regarding VR’s requirement to build 120 worker beds for the project. The town debated whether to allow the Arrabelle to open in time for Christmas without the requirements fulfilled.
After some contentious sparring about the promised worker housing, the town and the resort reached an agreement that the Arrabelle could open if Vail Resorts could come up with a plan for housing within a few months.
Around the same time, the town also expressed disappointment in several proposals from Vail Resorts regarding redevelopment of Timber Ridge, the town-owned employee housing complex.
Eventually, Vail Resorts agreed to build the worker housing on the North Day Lot, a Vail Resorts-owned parking lot near the Landmark Condominiums.
The negotiations took a positive turn with the North Day Lot agreement, said Kristin Williams, a spokeswoman for Vail Resorts.
“At the staff level, the North Day Lot process showed what we can achieve when we work together,” Williams said.
“The North Day Lot was the result in a change of attitude on both sides,” Rogers said. “Before, no one approached those negotiations with conscious effort to make it a more workable relationship.”
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