'We're Off to the Races Now,' Developer Says
We know a lot about the town of Vail's plans for a new municipal
building. We're about to learn a lot more about plans for the
structure that will be next door.
The whole idea of redeveloping the municipal building property started when officials from the Vail Valley Medical Center and doctors from The Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute proposed a new office building on the western part of the land.
Negotiations started, studies were done, and meetings public and private were held. The result was a deal for the town to sell part of the property to the medical partners. Then the real work started.
Vail-based Triumph Development has been involved with the redevelopment plans just about since the idea was first made public. The company is now officially the developer of the medical office building and is running the project.
Now, the next step
Triumph and the medical partners recently finalized their contracts for the work on the building. Architects have been hired and a contractor selected. The next step will be the start of the public approval process, when the proposal goes to the Vail Design Review Board sometime in August.
"We're off to the races now," Triumph Development Chief Operating Office Michael O'Connor said.
But getting to the starting gate required some fairly complex deal-making. At the top of that list is how the building is getting built.
While the medical partners are buying about 2.6 acres of the municipal site, Triumph is leasing the land. It will then build the office building and sell it back to the partners.
While this sounds like a convoluted way to get a project done, Triumph co-founder Steve Virostek said it's actually fairly common in the building business, primarily because it's a way for the developer to secure financing for the project.
The deal also allows the developer more control over the process.
"The doctors (at the clinic and research institute) don't have time to do their jobs and do this," Virostek said.
Triumph will be in charge of building a large underground parking structure on the entire site. Once that's done, work will start on the buildings. The medical building will be built by the team Triumph put together; the town has assembled its own team to build the new municipal building.
Before the cranes come
Because the two buildings will share a parking structure, Vail Community Development Department Director George Ruther said the entire complex will be submitted to the Vail Design Review Board as one application. Ruther said the town's boards - first the Design Review Board and then the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission - will cover the topics they do for any other applicant, such as design, size and, of course, traffic and parking.
Part of the traffic plan is out of the town's control, though. The plans for the medical office call for a pedestrian bridge over South Frontage Road to link the new offices with the medical center's buildings on the south side of the road. Since South Frontage Road is owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation, that agency will have to give its approval for the bridge.
Ruther said plenty of work has already been done on getting the bridge approved, adding that he expects final approval to come sometime in the next six to eight months.
Between the town, the state and the medical partnership, just getting the project ready to build has involved getting agreements from a large cast of players.
"That was fun for me," Triumph co-founder Brad Quayle said of the process of bringing the various players together. "It was really the art of building consensus."
By the time work starts next year, it will have taken almost as long to plan and approve the project as it will take to build the structures. But for Virostek - who will be able to see the project's cranes from his office in the northwest corner of the Vail Gateway building - the building will be the easy part.
"By the time we put a shovel in the ground, we'll have 90 percent of the work done," he said.
What's the plan?
Project: A medical office building on the western part of the Vail municipal building property.
Partners: Vail Valley Medical Center, The Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute.
Proposed building size: About 75,000 square feet.
Height: Five stories.
Cost: Roughly $75 million, including underground parking for the entire property.
Developers: Triumph Development of Vail.
Architects: Michael Graves & Associates, Zehren and Associates and Boulder Associates Inc.
Contractor: GE Johnson Construction.
Expected groundbreaking: Summer 2013.
Expected completion: Early 2015.