Developer wants to build conference center in Vail |

Developer wants to build conference center in Vail

eagle county correspondent

VAIL ” A developer’s idea for the Lionshead parking structure has Vail buzzing about a conference center again, six months after voters soundly defeated a publicly funded center.

Texas developer Mark Masinter has approached the town with a proposal for the redevelopment of the parking structure . The proposal includes two hotels, a conference center, stores ” and more public parking than the current 1,100 spaces ” on the site of the aging Lionshead structure, said Russ Forrest, head of the town’s Community Development Department. The town owns the land that the garage sits on.

Masinter, reached by phone Friday, confirmed that the proposal includes the hotels, the conference center, stores and parking. He said he is working in partnership with a development group, whose name he did not disclose. Masinter declined to further discuss the proposal but said he would provide more information next week.

Based on Masinter’s informal proposal, the town plans to solicit proposals from developers to redevelop the structure. The town will start taking proposals Monday, and seeks to choose a developer by August.

“This was moving forward quickly,” Forrest said. “We put up the yellow flag that this needs to be a public and transparent process.”

The town says it wants more parking spaces, hotels and a conference or event center with at least 25,000 square feet of meeting or event space. Forrest said Masinter’s conference center proposal meets the town’s goals for the center.

Other goals include creation of stores on the south side of the structure on East Lionshead Circle as well as a new information center.

“In terms of bulk and mass, it would be similar to other things in Lionshead,” Forrest said.

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