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We're Off to the Races Now' Developer Says

Vail Daily

We know a lot about the town of Vail's plans for a new municipalbuilding. We're about to learn a lot more about plans for thestructure that will be next door.

The whole idea of redeveloping the municipal building propertystarted when officials from the Vail Valley Medical Center anddoctors from The Steadman Clinic and the Steadman PhilipponResearch Institute proposed a new office building on the westernpart of the land.

Negotiations started studies were done and meetings public andprivate were held. The result was a deal for the town to sell partof the property to the medical partners. Then the real workstarted.

Vail-based Triumph Development has been involved with theredevelopment plans just about since the idea was first madepublic. The company is now officially the developer of the medicaloffice building and is running the project.

Now the next step
Triumph and the medical partners recently finalized theircontracts for the work on the building. Architects have been hiredand a contractor selected. The next step will be the start of thepublic approval process when the proposal goes to the Vail DesignReview Board sometime in August.

"We're off to the races now" Triumph Development Chief OperatingOffice Michael O'Connor said.

But getting to the starting gate required some fairly complexdeal-making. At the top of that list is how the building is gettingbuilt.

While the medical partners are buying about 2.6 acres of themunicipal site Triumph is leasing the land. It will then build theoffice building and sell it back to the partners.

While this sounds like a convoluted way to get a project doneTriumph co-founder Steve Virostek said it's actually fairly commonin the building business primarily because it's a way for thedeveloper to secure financing for the project.

The deal also allows the developer more control over theprocess.

"The doctors (at the clinic and research institute) don't havetime to do their jobs and do this" Virostek said.

Triumph will be in charge of building a large underground parkingstructure on the entire site. Once that's done work will start onthe buildings. The medical building will be built by the teamTriumph put together the town has assembled its own team to buildthe new municipal building.

Before the cranes come
Because the two buildings will share a parking structure VailCommunity Development Department Director George Ruther said theentire complex will be submitted to the Vail Design Review Board asone application. Ruther said the town's boards - first the DesignReview Board and then the Vail Planning and EnvironmentalCommission - will cover the topics they do for any other applicantsuch as design size and of course traffic and parking.

Part of the traffic plan is out of the town's control though. Theplans for the medical office call for a pedestrian bridge overSouth Frontage Road to link the new offices with the medicalcenter's buildings on the south side of the road. Since SouthFrontage Road is owned by the Colorado Department ofTransportation that agency will have to give its approval for thebridge.

Ruther said plenty of work has already been done on getting thebridge approved adding that he expects final approval to comesometime in the next six to eight months.

Between the town the state and the medical partnership justgetting the project ready to build has involved getting agreementsfrom a large cast of players.

"That was fun for me" Triumph co-founder Brad Quayle said of theprocess of bringing the various players together. "It was reallythe art of building consensus."

By the time work starts next year it will have taken almost aslong to plan and approve the project as it will take to build thestructures. But for Virostek - who will be able to see theproject's cranes from his office in the northwest corner of theVail Gateway building - the building will be the easy part.

"By the time we put a shovel in the ground we'll have 90 percentof the work done" he said.

What's the plan?
Project: A medical office building on the western part of the Vailmunicipal building property.
Partners: Vail Valley Medical Center The Steadman Clinic and theSteadman Philippon Research Institute.
Proposed building size: About 75000 square feet.
Height: Five stories.
Cost: Roughly $75 million including underground parking for theentire property.
Developers: Triumph Development of Vail.
Architects: Michael Graves & Associates Zehren and Associatesand Boulder Associates Inc.
Contractor: GE Johnson Construction.
Expected groundbreaking: Summer 2013.
Expected completion: Early 2015.