Vail Resorts refuses town’s offer to buy land
BROOMFIELD — The Vail Corp. has refused the town of Vail’s offer to buy property that the resort company would like to develop into workforce housing.
In a letter dated Monday, Bill Rock, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Mountain Division for Vail Resorts, notified the Vail Town Council that the company declined the town’s offer to purchase Lot 1 and Tract A of the East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision.
The Vail Corp. is registered to the same Broomfield address as Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN).
Vail Resorts has been in a dispute for several months over the development of workforce housing on property it owns. The town would like to preserve the property for wildlife habitat and has moved to condemn the property.
The town offered $12 million for the property in September, prompting the response from Vail Resorts.
“For Vail Resorts, this is not, and has never been about money. This is about building affordable housing that the town desperately needs now to support the hundreds of employees who are the town’s lifeblood and who make both Vail Mountain and the town of Vail a world-class destination,” Rock said in his letter to the town.
Rock said the company’s plan is to build workforce housing but to also “convert the overwhelming majority of its property to NAP [Natural Area Preservation] — for the benefit of the bighorn sheep — while providing much needed affordable housing to the community on the East Vail Parcel.” He said the project had broad support from the town until recently.
“The town’s decision to convert the East Vail Parcel into open space therefore permanently eliminates affordable housing on a parcel that is not only able — but fully entitled — to provide such housing in a town that already does not have enough land left to develop. That is something no amount of money can fix,” Rock said. “Vail Resorts … doesn’t believe that condemnation is warranted or appropriate. Rather than spend this money to condemn affordable employee housing for those who are the lifeblood of the town, Vail Resorts hopes that the Vail Town Council will consider using the $12 million to instead implement measures that will actually help protect the bighorn sheep herd.”