The Edwards RiverPark site is now up for sale

This map shows the location of the proposed Edwards RiverPark site. The nearly 105 acre lot was recently listed for sale.
Courtesy Photo

After a nearly two-year entitlement process — which ended with approval by the Eagle County Board of Commissioners in October 2021 — the land known as Edwards RiverPark has been listed for sale.

The nearly 105-acre site was formerly a gravel pit site, but following the October approvalAs entitled, the property has 55.27-acres of developable land to provide 11,500 square feet of commercial and conference space (including 2,500 square feet dedicated to a child care facility), common open space as well as 440 dwelling units, 61% (or 270 units) of which would be deed-restricted.

These 270 workforce units can be broken down as follows:

  • 90 deed-restricted rental units — nine price-capped rental units at 80% average median income, 72 price-capped rental units at 100% AMI and nine resident-occupied, deed-restricted units for sale with no transfer fee exemption.
  • 98 resident-occupied deed restriction for sale units
  • 82 resident-occupied for sale or rental units

The process to get to this plan involved 13 public hearings — with hundreds of public comments submitted — And a lot of back and forth between the public, the commissioners and the project’s developer and planner.

Among other things, residents expressed concerns about increased traffic to the area (including the schematically construction of a roundabout and expansion on US Highway 6), the development’s proximity to a wildlife area, and its overall impacts on the Edwards community.

Now, the future development of the property and the housing units hinges on its sale.

The land was last purchased in June 2018 for $ 7.8 million, according to the Eagle County AssessorThe property was listed on June 14, 2022, and according to Steven Sendor, vice president of the listing firm Fortius Capital Investment Services, the property is currently unpriced, but guidance for offers is set at $ 34.5 million.

As to why the property is being sold, Sendor said that it centers around the unexpected loss of “one of the key partners in project” during the entitlement process.

The RiverPark development on the parcel was initially shepherded by Don MacKenzie of UpStream Development and Sierra Trail Investments, LLC, who passed away in July 2020. MacKenzie, Sendor said, was the “guy driving forward” and ultimately would’ve been “the one” getting it capitalized and built. ”

While the remaining partners saw the project through entitlement, with this loss, they thought the best course was to sell without having MacKenzie or a “key person on project to take it through,” Sendor said.

This rendering from the development team depicts the general appearance of the Edwards RiverPark project as seen from Interstate 70. The property is now up for sale.
Courtesy photo

Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr told the Vail Daily on Thursday that the property being sold was unsurprising to him as the unexpected loss of MacKenzie caused the project to lose “the inertia behind it.”

For the future owners, however, Scherr said the process should be less contentious and require much fewer negotiations now that the property is entitled.

“They’ve done all the nasty hard work and now anyone coming along can pick that up and they can do the specifics, which is really more process,” Scherr said. “It’s less contentious because now you just have to comply with building and not (change) the PUD, which is really a big negotiation. From here on out, it’s not a lot of negotiation. ”

According to Sendor, the land is not a publicly listed MLS property, but rather is being marketed “direct to principals.” As such, Fortius Capital has sent offering memos to “thousands of recipients,” including local municipalities.

Could Eagle County municipalities entertain an offer?

While it’s still unknown who will purchase the property, it’s possible that Eagle County municipalities could attempt to pull together an offer.

At its June 28 meetingRuther said that he had received an offering package from the brokers at Fortius Capital Investment Services and thought it was “an opportunity for the towns and communities to consider. and explore. ”

Edwards RiverPark planner Dominic Mauriello, center, describes particulars of the proposal to a delegation from Eagle County that participated in a site visit in November 2020.

Christopher Dillman / Vail Daily archive

“The conversation often comes up that what we need here in Eagle County is another Miller Ranch and the reality is, unfortunately, we need three or four more Miller Ranches. While the Edwards RiverPark development, as it’s been entitled, is different in its configuration “These opportunities don’t come along very often, but it maybe is one that we should be discussing. ”

The need, Ruther added, is also documented in the 2018 Eagle County Housing Needs Assessment and Solutions Report — which is also referenced in the Fortius Capital offering package.

“There is currently an existing demand for nearly 5,900 additional homes for year-round and seasonal residents in the Eagle River Valley,” Ruther told the Vail Daily on Thursday. “The Edwards area was identified as a preferred location to live by many year- round residents working in the eastern portions of Eagle County. ”

The Vail Housing Authority unanimously expressed a desire for town staff to explore the opportunity further, including researching possible financing, partnerships, opportunities that exist with the property outside of purchasing and more.

Vail Housing Authority member Kristin Kenney Williams, who served as a spokesperson for the project during the entitlement process, said at the June meeting that the project of this size is “really hard to be built by the private sector alone,” calling it an “ incredible opportunity for the public sector to secure the land. ”

“Having worked on that project, the original application versus what got approved are night and day and that’s largely driven by the dialogue both by Eagle County elected officials and the community, that we don’t need more free-market housing, we need assumeable housing that a local can get into, both on rental and for sale; that’s really the project that got approved, ”Kenney Williams said, adding that there will be“ plenty of partners and businesses and individuals that can make those 400 units come to fruition . ””

While the topic has yet to come in front of the Vail Town Council, Edwards resident Joanna Kerwin urged the town not to pursue the purchase of the property during public comment at the council’s July 5 meeting..

“I think it would be irresponsible for the town of Vail to partner with other municipalities to purchase the land, because even if the town of Vail and other municipalities purchase it, it’s not affordable to build on,” Kerwin said, later adding that the purchase was “not going to put a dent in our current housing situation due to the fact that the land is currently and has been too expensive and cumbersome to build on.”

In the weeks since the June Housing Authority meeting, Ruther told the Vail Daily on Thursday that the town’s housing department is “looking into the details of the offering to more fully understand what is being offered for sale and exploring the downvalley opportunity.”

As with all potential housing opportunities, Ruther said this includes “exploring all the options, both in the town of Vail and in collaboration with our downvalley partner communities,” which includes, he later added, the town of Avon and Eagle County.

Avon Town Manager Eric Heil said that the potential partnership and purchase of the property “has crossed our radar,” adding only that it’s something town staff is “aware of” and “looking into.”

Heil also added that the Avon Town Council doesn’t meet again until July 26.

Both Scherr and Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney were unaware of any conversations being had within the county. McQueeney said that any conversations about potential partnership or purchase by the county were “all rumors at my level.”

“There may be some conversations at the staff level, but I just heard that the town of Vail was interested,” Scherr said. I haven’t been part of any conversations if there have been any at the county level. ”

A spokesperson for Eagle County said that “the county has had one brief discussion with town of Vail regarding this situation at the staff level only,” and that there was “nothing to consider yet” at the county level.

Whether local municipalities decide to take this opportunity does have a tight timeline. Sendor said that Fortius called for offers to be received on July 29. So far, Sendor said the property has seen “a ton of interest” and the firm is “expecting a” multiple bid situation. ”

“We’ll see how it goes on the 29th,” he said.

fbq('track', 'PageView');