|A closer look at the
December 2, 2006
VAIL - There are similarities: civic centers, more
public parking spaces and road improvements. They both have condos,
hotels, timeshares and stores.
But there are differences: one has more expensive hotel rooms. One's
civic center seems to be more focused on conferences. One has a few
more public parking spaces.
Vail hasn't decided if it will redevelop the Lionshead parking
structure. But it now has two developers, each with
half-million-dollar proposals, waiting for a decision.
The town has made it clear that it may decide to choose neither of the
proposals. And some say it's too early to pick sides because
negotiations are continuing. But Vail is getting further along a
tentative timeline for the process. In December, the Vail Town Council
is aiming to decide if it has enough information to make a decision.
Two developers, East West Partners of Avon and Open Hospitality
Partners/Hillwood Capital of Dallas, are vying to win the right to
rebuild the garage.
• East West is proposing a Hyatt On hotel, a new brand that Hyatt is
marketing as "fresh, energetic and beyond contemporary." Other Hyatt
Ons are slated to open in New York, London and Shanghai.
"The brand is targeted towards younger, highly educated people that
have incomes of $150,000 or more," said Chuck Madison, senior partner
for East West Partners. The average daily rate would be around $275 a
night, Madison said.
Special to the Daily Open/Hillwood
plans 60,000 square feet of stores in its redevelopment plan for
the Lionshead parking structure.
Browse Vail Daily Photos
West touts Hyatt's ability to book conferences, citing its large sales
staff across the U.S.
• Open/Hillwood is proposing five-star St. Regis Hotel and a four-star
W Hotel on the site, with projected average daily rates of $423 and
The St. Regis is a luxury hotel chain with hotels in New York, Aspen,
San Francisco and Rome.
The W Hotel targets 25- to 49-year-olds with "creative sensibility."
There are 19 W Hotels, in places like New York, Chicago and Los
Mark Masinter of Open/Hillwood also touted the convention business of
Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which owns both chains.
"They have huge group business," he said. "They're the best at group
Hotels, condos, timeshares
• East West is proposing 150 Hyatt On hotel rooms, 75 two- and
three-bedroom timeshares, and 120 two-, three- and four-bedroom
condos. Including lockoffs, East West says the project will have about
450 rentable rooms, Madison said.
condos within the hotel have lockoff bedrooms that are designed just
like hotel rooms," Madison said.
• Open/Hillwood's St. Regis will have 120 hotel rooms, plus 50 condos
branded as St. Regis hotel rooms. It will also have 25 timeshares. The
St. Regis will also have meeting spaces of over 6,000 square feet, a
restaurant and a spa.
The W Hotel would have 120 hotels rooms, plus another 50 condos
marketed as W hotel rooms. It would have meeting spaces of 6,000
square feet, a restaurant and a "Bliss Spa."
The condos could be rented when not being used, Masinter said.
• The East West civic center would have a 25,300-square-foot ballroom,
triple the size of the Vail Marriott's ballroom. East West says it
would be available to the Vail lodging community 50 percent of the
time and operated by Hyatt.
It could be used for concerts, high-school graduations and speaker
events. But its primary purpose would be to attract conferences,
• Open/Hillwood is proposing a "multi-functional civic center" that
could host concerts, conventions or other events. It could hold 610
seated attendees for a concert or 1,000 standing people for a concert.
The area could also accommodate conferences with a 20,000-square-foot
attract every kind of conference that Vail wanted for its conference
center, but it can also convert itself into a performing arts center,"
The current Lionshead parking structure has 1,150 public parking
• East West has three options for parking. One option would have 1,500
public parking spaces - including parking for the civic center and
stores - and 312 private spaces. East West says it would replace the
1,150 spaces by December.
Two other options would reduce the meeting space by 20 percent and 25
percent, adding public parking instead.
East West would keep at least 400 spaces open during construction.
• Open/Hillwood is proposing 1,410 public parking spaces - including
parking for stores and the civic center - plus 467 private spaces. The
developer would replace the 1,150 current spaces by Dec. 1, and keep
at least 400 spaces open through construction.
Open/Hillwood once considered adding more parking and digging down
three levels, but their current plan would only go two levels
Special to the Daily East West
Partners is proposing a four-star Hyatt On hotel. It also want to
build 75 timeshares and 120 condos.
Browse Vail Daily Photos
• East West Partners says it would do public road improvements
totaling $6.2 million, including two roundabouts
• Open/Hillwood says it would build one or two new roundabout and do
Frontage Road improvements totaling $20.5 million.
• East West is proposing 30,000 square feet of retail space. It would
be 70 percent local merchants and 30 percent national chains.
• Open/Hillwood proposes 60,000 square feet of retail in two levels.
It would be about 50 percent local and 50 percent national chains.
Special to the Daily Open/Hillwood
wants to build a five-star St. Regis Hotel and a four-star W Hotel
on the site. It is also proposing 100 condos and 25 timeshares.
Browse Vail Daily Photos
• Open/Hillwood proposes a bus hub that would be underneath the
hotels. It would have space for five waiting buses.
"The dropoff spot is right by the pedestrian street," Masinter said.
• East West proposes an above-ground bus hub that could be a station
for 5-6 buses at once. Madison said the open-air environment is an
advantage for their proposal.
"We are in Colorado with 300 days of sunshine," Madison said. "That's
probably not a big reason to bring people underground."
East West is also proposing a 21,000-square-foot wellness center that
could serve as a rec center for Vail residents, Madison said. The Avon
developer is also proposing a 3,000-square-foot nonprofit center.
"We just know there are so many - close to 100 - nonprofit agencies in
the valley, but so many of them don't have an office to work out of,"
East West is also proposing a youth/family
recreation center of 2,500 square feet.
Both developers propose to replace the Lionshead information center.
Both projects would start tearing down the current structure in 2009
and be totally done with the project in 2012.
• Open/Hillwood wants to begin with building their roundabout and
frontage road improvements in summer 2008. It would start building
parking in the spring of 2009. It would start on the W hotels and
condos in spring of 2010. It would start on the St. Regis Hotel in
2011. It would be done in 2012.
• East West plans prep work in 2008, starting parking in 2009,
starting the hotel building in 2010. It plans to complete the project
Why I'm better
• Open/Hillwood says its plan is better because it
has more true hotel rooms - not condos that are rented.
"Hotel beds and lockoffs aren't occupied at the same rate," Masinter
Open/Hillwood also promotes the "varied scale" of its storefronts.
"It's a real retail street," Masinter said.
And the fact that Open/Hillwood already has $200 million of its own
money committed to the project is an advantage, Masinter said.
The multi-use civic center could accommodate all of Vail's conference
needs and host concerts, too, Masinter said.
• East West says that it has more "hot" beds than its competitor when
you factor in lockoff rentals.
"I think the town is very committed to making sure there are
significant number of hot beds in the project to help the vitality of
Lionshead and the rest of Vail," Madison said.
East West says its open-air bus hub will be better, and
Open/Hillwood's enclosed bus hub would be dirty.
The conference-focused civic center would bring
first-time visitors to Vail who would stay in hotels all over town,
eat at restaurants and spend money at other businesses, Madison said.
"We believe it's a huge advantage to the rest of the businesses in
Vail," Madison said.
East West says its project will cost about $545 million. It would
probably use tax increment financing as well as metro district bonds,
Open/Hillwood says its project will cost a little over $600 million.
It would also probably use TIF funds as well as metro district bonds,
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO