|Redesign for aging
mall in the works
Vail town officials may create a
plan that would entice property owners to redevelop the aging
West Vail shopping area to look more like Riverwalk in
Preston Utley/Vail Daily
October 2, 2005
VAIL - Town planners envision a Riverwalk-style
development in West Vail that would transform the aging business area
that spans from the Holiday Inn to the building containing Vail Valley
Town officials are creating a design for West Vail in an attempt to
entice property owners to revitalize the retail area in a coherent
way. A plan could dictate the types of buildings and the scale and
style of the redevelopment. Owners of the Holiday Inn, the West Vail
Mall and the Roost Lodge say they're considering renovations.
The concept is similar to Riverwalk in Edwards - small, city-style
blocks with retail space on the first floors, and office and condos or
apartments above. Some of the blocks would have plazas in the middle.
"These are the first timid steps to getting to a plan for the West
Vail area," said consultant Jeff Winston of Winston Associates in
Boulder, who helped the town come up with the idea.
The area includes land where the Holiday Inn/Apex Vail, West Vail
Mall, Safeway and Vail Das Schone building are now. The Vail Das
Schone building contains Vail Valley Ace Hardware and other stores.
The area extends from the North Frontage Road to Chamonix Lane.
A "main street," which would be open to one-way vehicular traffic,
would run from west to east in the center of the development area.
Several roads would bisect the development, connecting the Frontage
Road with Chamonix Lane.
The plan is divided so that it could be developed
piece by piece as each owner decides to rebuild, planners said.
Winston said the West Vail plan won't attract big box stores such as
Wal-Mart or The Home Depot, but rather smaller chain stories and other
Planners said they want to ensure West Vail remains appealing locals,
while allowing property owners to build enough stores and apartments
to entice to make redevelopment profitable. Retail sales have dropped
significantly in West Vail from 2001 to 2004, town officials say, a
decline some have blamed on people doing more shopping in Edwards and
other downvalley areas.
"We want to create a place that is exciting whose backbone is retail,"
said Ian Thomas, a retail consultant who helped the town with the
The concept has street parking and a garage at the north end of the
Das Schone property. Buildings closer to the Frontage Road would be
taller, and buildings farther north would be shorter, so as not to
block homeowners' views of the mountains.
"Overall, we're very encouraged by the plan," said
Mark Cervantes of Holiday Inn/Apex Vail. "It's in essence creating a
third place for a vacationer to come. It also services the needs of
the local resident."
Councilwoman Kim Ruotolo, who lives in the Chamonix area, said she
likes the general idea of the plan, but there needs to be discussions
with the public and on council. She said she thinks Chamonix-area
residents will oppose any plan that would increase traffic on
"I think you'll find that a difficult sell to the community," she told
planners at the meeting. Under the ideas put forth, cars would be able
to reach Chamonix Lane from the redeveloped shopping complex.
• Community meeting on ideas for West Vail will be held later this
month. The date and place haven't been determined yet.
• Town planning officials will present the ideas to Town Council later
• Several property owners have said they will
redevelop soon, but planners expect changes envisioned in a master
plan to take place over the next 10-15 years.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 604, or