Fulfillment of employee housing requirement remains unclear for Kindred Resort, but officials say there is still time to meet county mandate

Stakeholders, architects, members of the Kindred Development Team and agents from Liv Sotheby's break ground at the Kindred Resort construction site on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022.
Michelle Meunier/Courtesy photo

Employee housing for future Kindred Resort staff members is still up in the air despite claims that a partnership with Village at Wintergreen would provide 40-50 beds for workers at the new resort. 

Kimball Crangle, the Colorado market president of Gorman & Co., which developed Village at Wintergreen, said Kindred does not have beds guaranteed at Wintergreen — nor did Kindred assist Wintergreen in their construction or development.

Ryan Geller of the Kindred Development Team, who made the claims listed above, explained the mistake as a misunderstanding, saying that due to Vail Resort’s past with Wintergreen, he assumed any employee housing Vail Resorts would provide for Kindred employees would be at Wintergreen.

Crangle clarified, “Vail Resorts ground leased the land to us for the Wintergreen development. We worked with Summit County to amend the (planned unit development) to permit the Wintergreen property to be developed at the different affordability levels.”

According to Crangle, Wintergreen uses a specific leasing process for their waitlist of over 200 applicants. The process, called a priority leasing process, is established through the planned unit development of which Wintergreen was established.

At Wintergreen, Crangle added, Vail has a master lease on 36 units that have already been constructed. A Vail Resorts spokesperson said this partnership was not related to Kindred. This agreement was made during the initial process of Wintergreen’s entitlement that was completed in 2018. 

In an email, Summit County Planning Department senior planner Sid Rivers said, “Kindred’s requirement to provide employee housing is their responsibility. Wintergreen is not affiliated with the Kindred development. Vail had the lease on the seasonal units prior to approval of the Kindred proposal.”

While Kindred does not have 40-50 beds at Wintergreen, the development is still required to provide employee housing before it can officially open. 

“The master zoning for the area is the Keystone (planned unit development),” said Rivers. “That document dictates all of the uses and et cetera., so a component of that is employee housing.”

However, Kindred is not required to show proof of employee housing until a certain amount of time away from when construction should be finished, Rivers confirmed. 

However, Kindred exists on land that was sold by Vail and will be partly managed by Vail. 

“Vail Resorts sold the property to One River Run Acquisition (ORRA) in 2019 to develop the Kindred project. Once the project is complete, we have plans to manage the hotel, as well as operate skiers services, such as the Keystone Ski & Ride School and retail space, out of this location,” a Vail spokesperson wrote in an email. 

Therefore, through that relationship, Vail promised at the beginning of Kindred negotiations that — through different properties they own in Keystone — they would provide between 40 and 50 beds for Kindred employees, Geller said. 

“What (Vail has) done in the past for developers, including others that aren’t Kindred, is they offer a credit for what they would owe for their development,” Rivers said. “So they have units available, the units aren’t required until the structure is built. So we could be two years out, we could be four years out. Whenever they are approaching completion of that structure, that’s when those credits would be due. They’re not due now.”

Therefore, according to Geller and confirmed by Sid, when it comes time for employee housing to be looked at again, different properties that Vail Resorts owns within Keystone will be counted and allocated for employees. 

Vail owns properties at Tenderfoot Apartments, Sagebrush Apartments and Sunrise Apartments. 

If there aren’t enough units or beds for Kindred employees, then the Kindred Development Team would have to build enough space for their employees to live by the time the resort opens. However, because Geller said there is not enough space on Kindred property, the employee housing would have to be built somewhere in Keystone. 

According to Rivers, there is currently enough space for a potential employee housing project to be built in Keystone if it was necessary.

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