Thursday, January 31, 2008

Steamboat Ski Area Mountain Upgrades

On-mountain upgrades planned
By Melinda Dudley (Contact) Steamboat Pilot / TODAY
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Steamboat Springs — When the slopes at the Steamboat Ski Area are devoid of skiers and riders in the upcoming off-season, construction crews will take their place.

Before the 2008-09 ski season begins, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials hope to revamp the resort’s on-mountain food and beverage facilities, upgrade the Elkhead chairlift and create new parking solutions, pending approval from Intrawest, ULC, executives next month.

“There continue to be a lot of exciting things headed for Steamboat,” said Intrawest’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andy Wirth, at Ski Corp.’s ninth annual Airline Partners Summit on Wednesday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

As a fixed-grip chairlift, Elk­head is limited in its speed due to the difficulty of loading four passengers on a fast-moving lift, Wirth said. With upgrades, passengers next season can have a smoother, faster ride, he said.

Given the success of recent revisions to food and beverage facilities at Rendezvous Saddle and Thunderhead, the ski area is looking at enhancements to existing facilities and discussing the possible addition of entirely new facilities.

“Everything’s on the table,” Wirth said.

On-mountain improvements are one of four prongs in the ski area’s long-term development plan, known as Steamboat Unbridled. The strategy also includes base area redevelopment, real estate development and airport and air access.

“In the past 15 years, this resort has been greatly underutilized and struggled to compete in a very competitive market,” Wirth said.

Projects incorporated under Steamboat Unbridled aim to change that through new development and infrastructure improvements, designed in ways that maintain Steamboat’s hospitality and Western charm, Wirth said.

Some base area projects already have gotten under way, including improvements to Gondola Transit Center. Other projects, including roundabouts on Mount Werner Circle, the proposed daylighting of Burgess Creek and a pedestrian promenade at the base of the Headwall area are in the planning stages.

Steamboat Springs currently has lodging for up to 18,700 people, although that figure will drop slightly in the coming years as older properties, such as the Thunderhead Lodge and Condominiums, are demolished to make way for new development, Wirth said.

Just more than half of Steam­boat’s lodging capacity is located in the base area, and Intrawest’s real estate focus in the coming years will be on boosting that number, particularly at “high-quality” properties, he said.

While the ski area does not anticipate a need for more airline seats during season until 2010, when additional lodging capacity is developed, efforts already are under way to modernize air traffic control into Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Because of Colorado’s mountainous terrain, radar capabilities are lost below about 10,000 feet, said Bill Payne, program director for air traffic control modernization at the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A sophisticated new system undergoing installation for the airports in Hayden, Steamboat Springs and Craig will help to eliminate missed approaches and limit diversions, Payne said. The new tracking system is expected to complete testing and become fully operational in time for ski season service in 2009, he said.

The new system will improve airline and passenger experiences, cut down the required intervals between landings from 15 to only two minutes and hopefully limit the need of aircraft to circle while awaiting arrival, Wirth said.

“The whole experience of getting there and getting home is paramount,” Intrawest CEO Alex Wasilov said Wednesday. “We don’t just sell lift tickets.”

Intrawest News in Steamboat

Intrawest poised to grow
Steamboat Springs area a model for airline success
By Tom Ross (Contact) Steamboat Pilot / TODAY
Thursday, January 31,

Intrawest Chief Executive Officer Alex Wasilov spoke to a group of people attending the Airline Partners’ Summit on Wednesday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. His talk was titled “Creating the Best Memories Again and Again: The New Structure and Mission of Intrawest."

Intrawest at a glance
Total revenues: $1.61 billion USD

Skier visits: 8 million +

Acres of terrain: 20,000 +

Total number of lifts: 177

Number of high-speed lifts: 55

Golf courses: 15

Restaurant seats: 30,000 +

Lodging units: 8,200 +

Number of Employees: 22,000

Steamboat Springs — Intrawest ULC, the corporate parent of the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., has launched a new growth era and intends to expand real estate development at its existing mountain resorts even as it seeks new acquisitions.

Fortress Invest­ments, which ac­­quired Intrawest in 2006, is prepared to fund the growth, Intrawest CEO Alex Wasilov told an audience of more than 200 airline executives at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and Conference Center on Wednesday.

“We’re just pleased that we have them on board because they have a hell of a lot of capital and they’re putting it behind us

and it’s going to be our fuel to continue to grow and prosper,” Wasilov said at the Ninth Annual Airline Partners’ Summit, hosted by the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Asked if his company would seek to acquire more resorts in Colorado, Wasilov demurred at first, then said: “We will look at and pursue aggressively any opportunity that fits our model of experiential destination resorts, assuming the resort is for sale.”

Wasilov told representatives of five airlines that operate flights to the Steamboat area that Intrawest intends to work more closely with them and drive greater numbers of airline passengers to its resorts.

Fortress Investments paid $2.8 billion for Intrawest, the Vancouver, B.C, resort developer and operator, in late 2006. Intrawest in turn acquired Ski Corp. in March 2007 for $265 million.

Wasilov said the success that Steamboat, its vice president of marketing Andy Wirth (now marketing chief for Intrawest) and his staff have had in working with the airlines was a benefit resulting from the acquisition.

“Only at Steamboat,” Wasilov said, “have we packaged flights. We want to take what that team has done with you and spread it across all of our properties.”

More players, more projects
Wasilov said Intrawest wants to grow its existing resorts in four ways: by increasing customer demand with more effective marketing, real estate expansion, fostering more year-round activities at the resorts and creating better access to its destinations.

Experiential destination resorts, Wasilov said, provide memorable vacations that create an urge to return among guests.

“We want to create places where amazing experiences take place,” Wasilov said. “It’s not the ski lifts or the quality of the snow. It’s how you feel after you leave the resort in comparison to the amount of money you shelled out to be there.

“Are you thrilled? Do you want to come back? How quickly? And how many friends do you want to bring with you?”

Following his speech, Wasilov turned his attention specifically to Steamboat. Although he did not specify real estate development plans that are in the works, he said Intrawest looks forward to taking on new projects while cooperating with other developers who already have begun redeveloping the base of the ski area.

“When you look around Steamboat right now you see five projects that are already under way. If we had tackled them all ourselves, it would be different. Our history has been to develop it all ourselves, but now we want to make things happen more quickly. We intend to partner with other developers to make it happen sooner.

“There is more happening at Steamboat today as a result of there being multiple players.”

Family appeal
Wasilov said Intrawest finds there are three main customer groups for its mountain resorts, and Steamboat’s customer base varies from that of most resorts.

First, he said, there are the people who love to ski and are prepared to search the world for the best Champagne Powder. Second, he said, is the group he fits into: people who are not good enough skiers to justify searching the world for the ultimate powder, but want their children to have that experience. Steamboat hosts a disproportionate number of people who fit into the second category, Wasilov added.

Finally, there are a significant number of vacationers for whom the nightlife at a ski area is highly important. They come to resorts to meet their future spouses — they’re looking for some action, Wasilov said.

“The ski business has a large segment of consumers who come for nightlife,” Wasilov said. “If we didn’t think about all those things, we wouldn’t be successful.”

Does that mean Intrawest’s plans for Steamboat include building new nightclubs and bars? Not likely.

“I don’t think we can make that happen,” Wasilov said. “I don’t think Steamboat needs to change in the way it appeals to families.”

Rental Homes in Residential Neighborhoods

Rental issue rises again
City leery of revisiting contentious vacation home ordinance
By Brandon Gee (Contact) Steamboat Pilot / TODAY
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs City Councilman Jon Quinn calls re­­opening the debate about vacation home rentals “a scary proposition.”

Quinn made his comment at a Jan. 22 City Council meeting at which the majority of council members said they did not want to address the controversial issue, despite the identification of steps that could be taken to improve the city’s existing policies.

“I don’t want to open that now because we’ve got some other things we need to do,” Councilman Steve Ivancie said Tuesday. “We just aren’t prepared to discuss it at this time.”

The issue goes to the heart of a tourism-related industry that for years has fueled clashes between homeowners and property managers. Members of the newly seated City Council appear just as torn on the issue as the broader community. The city also is finding enforcement difficult, while at least one vacation rental owner is so fed up that he plans to sell his property.

At the Jan. 22 meeting, Director of Planning and Community Development Tom Leeson provided a “progress report” on the vacation home rental ordinance adopted in August by the previous City Council. The ordinance was the subject of quasi-judicial hearings and numerous lengthy meetings in 2006 and 2007. It replaced a similarly contentious 2001 ordinance with one slightly more demanding on vacation rental owners and operators.

Leeson recommended the City Council allow a change to the submittal requirements for vacation rental site plans. But when it came to tweaking the ordinance’s requirement for an access agreement, Leeson advised the City Council against opening that “can of worms.”

“That was a major sticking point in the drafting of this ordinance,” Leeson said.

Vacation home rentals are residential homes that are rented to short-term vacationers and sometimes used for private functions. Owners and operators were previously required to get their neighbors’ agreement to an access agreement for such homes. The new ordinance is much more stringent in that it requires the consent of all owners whose properties must be passed on private roads to access a vacation home.

Council differences
In addition to the public disagreement the issue would surely draw, there likely would be plenty of divisiveness among council members as well.

Councilman Scott Myller said vacation home rentals are just one of the drawbacks that citizens of a resort town must accept and noted their importance to the local economy.

“I will support vacation home rentals until I’m blue,” Myller said.

At the other end of the spectrum, Quinn said he “would prefer to draw the line more harshly” and totally disallow anything but long-term rentals.

“What we’ve done is put this mechanism in place to encourage second-home ownership,” Quinn said. “I think our neighborhoods should be our neighborhoods and our commercial districts should be our commercial districts.”

Such disagreements will mean little, of course, unless the political will is mustered to actually confront the issue. Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski has hopes that the council will do just that.

“When the past City Council passed the last ordinance, they said they would revisit it and revisit it often because it was such a contentious issue,” Hermacinski said Tuesday. “I would definitely go there.”

Hermacinski said the ordinance has put additional strains on vacation property owners and managers who are trying to abide by the city’s policies, while doing little to crack down on those who continue to operate vacation rentals without a license.

“I support opening it up and making changes,” Hermacinski said Tuesday. “We’re rewarding the people who don’t comply, and we’re penalizing the people who do. That’s not good policy.”

Access and enforcement
Suzie Spiro, owner of Colorado Mountain Rentals, has addressed the City Council often in recent weeks about perceived problems with the vacation home rental ordinance. She said the issue proved so maddening for the owner of one property she manages, that he decided to sell the house and be done with it.

“He’s very frustrated with the interpretation of the city and he’s selling his house,” Spiro said Wednesday.

Spiro said that in some instances, it is too difficult for owners and property managers to procure the access agreement required by the current ordinance. In the case of the owner who decided to sell, Spiro said the access agreement is excessive when a vacation home is located on a private road with 14 property owners who live all over the world.

Noting the problem of tracking down various property owners — and the fact that some will simply ignore such attempts — Hermacinski said she would be in favor of changing the access-agreement requirement so that after a period of time, the vacation home is allowed to operate “unless there is an affirmative objection from neighbors.”

Spiro also is frustrated by the city’s enforcement efforts — or lack thereof.

“What really burns me up is there are people out there renting and not paying their sales taxes,” Spiro said. “That’s not fair.”

City officials acknowledge that enforcing vacation rental policies is a challenge but say they are taking steps to increase their efforts, which have remained complaint-based thus far. City Manager Alan Lanning said the Steamboat Springs Police Department and the public works and planning departments have begun meeting weekly to coordinate their efforts. Also, Leeson said his department would be adding an additional enforcement officer soon.

Lanning also has floated the idea of adding sales tax auditors to the city’s finance department as a way to identify those who are not following the rules. Interim Director of Finance Bob Litzau said his staff already trolls newspaper ads and Web sites to cross-reference vacation-home listings with city records. If a home doesn’t have a license, the owner is notified and asked to get one and to file past tax returns.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rising Real Estate Values = Tax Hike

Get ready for a property tax hike
Rising real estate valuation hits home
By Tom Ross (Contact) Steamboat Pilot / TODAY
Sunday, January 27, 2008

Routt County property owners have found reason the last three years to celebrate the dramatic growth they’ve seen in the equity in their homes and land. Now, the bill has come due.

Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon confirmed that she sent half of the county’s property tax notices Thursday, and the rest will go into the mail today. For many local property owners, the tax notices will contain unwelcome news.

“In most cases, property owners will experience a significant increase in their 2007 tax bill when compared to prior years,” Routt County Assessor Mike Kerrigan said Thursday.

It is difficult to generalize about how much of a tax increase different property owners will see, Kerrigan said. That’s because the amount of the increase varies with the type and location of the property.

However, Whiddon said the tax bill on her home on Pine Street in Old Town Steamboat Springs went up 29 percent, to more than $2,000 annually.

The magnitude of the hit will vary for residential property owners in Yampa and Stagecoach, for example. And commercial property owners are apt to see bigger jumps than residential property owners.

Real estate developer Jim Cook, who is involved in five mixed residential/commercial projects in downtown Steamboat, expressed concern that property tax increases would make it more challenging for new and existing businesses to revitalize the downtown commercial district. Property taxes are typically passed on to commercial tenants as part of their rent that is referred to as CAM, or common areas and maintenance, he said. The net result will be higher rent on a per-square-foot basis.

Kerrigan said several factors have come together to result in the property tax increase. One of them is the unprecedented increase in real estate values in the county during the past several years.

“In 2007, all properties were reappraised to reflect market values as of June 30, 2006, while 2005 and 2006 property taxes were based on market values as of June 30, 2004,” Kerrigan said. “In that two-year period, the assessed value in Routt County increased approximately 35 percent.”

Kerrigan said Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights, adopted in 1992, affords property owners some protection from tax bills escalating with real estate values — but that doesn’t mean individual property owners won’t feel some pain.

Kerrigan acknowledged that TABOR requires taxing entities to reduce their mill levies so revenues will remain relatively constant unless voters approve additional mill levy increases.

However, TABOR does allow governments to adjust levies for inflation and new construction. During Routt County’s 2007 budget process, the Denver/Boulder Consumer Price Index allowed a 2.75 percent increase in mill levies, and new construction allowed another 3.25 percent, Kerrigan said.

Varied values
One of the least understood aspects of TABOR, Kerrigan said, is that it does not apply to individual properties. Instead, it limits tax levies for the overall valuation within each taxing entity’s boundary.

That leaves individual taxpayers, whose property out-performs the overall number for the tax district, vulnerable to a bigger tax increase.

“If the total valuation of Routt County went up 35 percent, but an individual property’s value went up 46 percent, then its net tax increase will be 11 percent, or 46 percent minus 35 percent,” Kerrigan said.

And that doesn’t include the 6 percent increase attributable to inflation and new construction.

Additionally, Kerrigan said, high demand for entry-level housing from 2004 to 2006 resulted in bigger increases in valuation at the low end of the market than it did in the highest price points.

Kerrigan said he’s aware of undeveloped land in Stagecoach that tripled in appraised value after multiple sales between appraisals in 2004 and 2006. Owners of similar property will see larger-than-average tax increases this week.

Ballot impact
Local voters have approved several new property taxes in recent years.

In 2006, voters approved two property tax increases for the Steamboat Springs School District that were expected to add about $100 to the tax bill of someone owning a $450,000 home.

In November 2005, voters approved tax measures for the Bud Werner Memorial Library expansion, the Purchase of Development Rights program and Horizons Specialized Services.

In aggregate, they were expected to add about $180 to the tax bill for a $600,000 house.

Kerrigan’s figures show that the 1.5 mills of property taxes for the Purchase of Development Rights program will generate $1.62 million in revenues this year. The 1 mill for Horizons will generate $1.08 million. Three-tenths of a mill devoted to museums in the county will generate $324,131. Those three special taxes are not constrained by TABOR and chalked up a 34 percent increase in taxes, according to Kerrigan.

Rich when you leave
Private sector commercial real estate appraiser Bob Maddox operates out of offices in a small building on Oak Street in downtown Steamboat. Springs, and he’s prepared for an increase.

“I bought the building from Florence Brown in 1978 for $130,000,” Maddox said. “Over the years, I’ve seen the property taxes increase until they are close to 10 percent of what I paid for it.”

Owners of commercial property take larger property tax hits than owners of residential property because an amendment to the Colorado constitution requires the overall commercial tax burden to be about three times that of the residential tax burden.

“A lot of the inequity in our tax bills is due to the Gallagher Amendment,” Maddox said.

Around his office, they have a sarcastic saying about the growth in valuation Routt County residents have experienced in their real estate.

“We always joke that everyone in Routt County is a millionaire,” Maddox said, “but you don’t get your check until you’re on your way out of town. And you can’t come back.”

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail

Downtown Redevelopment on Yampa Street

River projects planned
Redevelopment trend grows on south side of Yampa Street
By Tom Ross (Contact) Steamboat Pilot / TODAY
Sunday, January 27,

The metal building housing Backdoor Sports would come down to make way for Whitewater Run. The owner of the sporting goods store said he has an option to relocate two blocks up Yampa Street.

Steamboat Springs — The Spanish word paseo is figuring prominently in three mixed-use redevelopment projects that have been proposed for the riverfront on the south side of Yampa Street.

The latest is Whitewater Run, being developed by Nebraska building contractor Rick Fauss, who is purchasing the riverfront property owned by Dick and Paulette Mills. The sale is expected to close next month. Whitewater’s site is planned for the lawn adjacent to the Yacht Club restaurant, 811 Yampa Ave. The restaurant building would remain standing.

Loosely translated, paseo, in this case, means “walk-through.”

All three of the projects — including plans for 751 Yampa proposed by Steamboat Realtor and developer Jim Cook, with Green Courte Partners; plans for 655 Yampa; and Whitewater Run — include an open-air pedestrian pathway leading from the street, through the building to the river.

“The trendy word in development right now is ‘paseo,’” Cook said. He also is representing Fauss in the Whitewater Run project.

Cook said the shallow building lots on the south side of Yampa Street preclude building public trails above the 50-foot water setback required by the city. But he’s optimistic the paseos will become extensions of the numbered city side streets across from them and pull pedestrians into public restaurant seating along the river.

The paseos at all three sites should break up their building’s mass and scale while providing view corridors to the riverbank, he added.

Whitewater Run recently entered the pre-application process with Steamboat Springs city planners. It would include eight residential units on the second and third floors above a mix of retail and restaurant space on street level, Cook said. A well-established Steamboat business already has committed to a 2,500-square-foot retail space, Cook said.

The site comprises two existing buildings, plus an open lawn attached to the landmark Yacht Club restaurant, and the metal building currently housing Backdoor Sports.

The Yacht Club building would remain standing, but the rectangular building that houses the sporting goods shop would come down. At one time, the building housed Dodd Diesel mechanics shop.

Backdoor Sports owner Peter VanDeCarr said he would prefer to remain right where he is, but he has the option to relocate into 655 Yampa.

That project is being developed by Howard Ulep and Dennis Frank of Annapolis, Md. It was designed by Steven Eggleston of SCE Studio in Steamboat, and was approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council in November 2007. It would replace a large white house on the site.

Cook’s other project, 751 Yampa, would replace three small buildings including Colorado Group Realty’s sales center, Hell’s Wall sporting goods and the building that houses Sweet Pea Produce in the summer and Sunpie’s Bistro.

Yacht Club operators Morton and Ellen Hoj have already announced their plans to open a new restaurant, The Diplomat, in The Victoria, under construction at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and 10th Street.

Cook said Fauss intends to sell the Yacht Club building with the expectation it would remain a restaurant.

Fauss is the principal in a construction firm, R.L. Fauss, headquartered in Fremont, Neb., outside Omaha. The company also has offices in Conway, S.C., and Sierra Vista, Ariz.

The company’s completed projects include public schools, convenience stores, apartment buildings and hotels.

Inn at Steamboat - Perfect for Front Range Buyers

Late-’60s hotel to get luxe treatment
Inn at Steamboat sold for $3.65M
By Tom Ross (Contact) Steamboat Pilot / TODAY
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Steamboat Springs — Development partners Dave Thorp and Scott Rotermund have plans to remodel a modest hotel south of Walton Creek Road to give it the feel of a classic ski lodge.

Rotermund and Thorp, who recently collaborated on the Airport Garages project at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, closed this week on the purchase of the 34-room Inn at Steamboat on Columbine Drive. The bought the property from Glen Zabel for $3.65 million.

The inn came with a four-year-old city approval to build a 10-unit condominium building on the site of the existing inn. Rotermund said he and Thorp intend to build the new condominiums. They also intend to convert the inn to a condominium/hotel and sell the units.

The partners signed a management contract with Steamboat Resorts this week, and the remodeling project is already under way.

Their target market, Thorp said, comprises Colorado couples who want to escape to Steamboat for long weekends.

“The ideal buyer is from the Front Range, wants to eat breakfast in the inn, eat lunch at the (ski) hill and go out to dinner,” Thorp said.

Zabel said he purchased the inn in October 2002 from Tom Miller-Freutel. The hotel originally was built by the Roy family in the late 1960s, Zabel said. It was one of only a handful of buildings south of the Steamboat Ski Area through the mid-1970s.

Zabel completed extensive remodeling to the inn within the past five years — it’s modern, attractive, comfortable and clean. However, the new owners want to raise the small hotel rooms to the level of luxury.

“We’ll spend $15,000 to $20,000 on each room in upgrades,” Rotermund said. “For example, we’re purchasing pillow-top Neiman Marcus beds that cost $4,500.”

Each room will get flat panel TVs and marble countertops and tile tub surrounds in the bathrooms.

The 320-square-foot rooms will be marketed for $166,900. There are a small number of suites also available.

The Inn at Steamboat has amenities that include an outdoor pool and hot tub, a breakfast room and a lounge with a wood-burning fireplace.

Thorp and Rotermund plan to install wood floors in the lounge, convert the game room into an exercise room, and convert the current office into a business center that will augment the wireless connections throughout the property.

Thorp, who has his real estate license with Colorado Group Realty, is the listing agent for the Inn at Steamboat. He plans to take reservations up until Feb. 15. They intend to deliver the remodeled units by June 1.

“You’re going to get product within four or five months,” Rotermund said.

First Tracks - Affordable Housing at Wildhorse

Wildhorse announces First Tracks
Deed-restricted sales could test demand for affordable housing
By Tom Ross (Contact) Steamboat Pilot/ TODAY
Sunday, January 13, 2008

The condominium project is the result of the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, which requires developers to provide deed-restricted, affordable units in addition to market-rate resort housing. First Tracks sales could indicate whether the gap between market-rate homes and subsidized affordable units is sufficient to attract moderate income buyers to purchase a home that will never appreciate as fast as the market.

Resort Ventures West Vice President Brent Pearson said his company decided to be very proactive in marketing the deed-restricted housing and is intent on providing a high-quality product.

“Hopefully, we’ll soon get an idea of how well this experiment works,” Pearson said. “There has been a lot of excitement from individuals and brokers without us releasing anything. The gap would not have been large enough two years ago. We’re not certain where the gap is now.”

For homebuyers, it’s not yet time to make a commitment, just the first opportunity to register with the developers and begin a pre-qualifying process. That could lead to a purchase agreement this summer and a move into a new condominium sometime in the first half of 2009.

The cost of the project’s first 47 units, which will average 900 square feet, has not been determined.

“This is an invitation to register and allow us to educate people about what to expect and assess their ability to pre-qualify,” Mariana Ishida said. She is the development manager for Resort Ventures West, developers of the broader Wildhorse project, which includes The Range single-family neighborhood and Trailhead Lodge, currently under construction.

Ishida stressed that the registration process beginning Tuesday does not involve reservations, nor will it result in a first-come, first-served priority list.

Before families move into a new home at First Tracks, they’ll have to demonstrate their ability to close on a mortgage but also meet community housing guidelines that impose eligibility restrictions based on maximum income thresholds.

Deed dominoes

Resort Ventures West still must clear the final city approvals before it can begin construction on First Tracks. Those approvals are vital to Wildhorse and luxury condominiums at nearby One Steamboat Place, because the certificate of occupancy for the first phase of First Tracks must be in hand before developers for the two independent projects can begin closing market-rate sales.

Ishida and her colleagues will appear before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission on Jan. 24 for consideration of the project’s final development permit. A public hearing with City Council follows on Feb. 5.

City Planner Gavin McMillan said the hearings will evaluate the appearance of the buildings and whether the current site plan conforms to the broader ap­­proval for all of Wildhorse that is already in place.

McMillan said this month that tentatively, the elevation drawings for First Tracks meet the expectations of the base area design guidelines that prevail near the base of the ski area.

Architectural renderings produced by architect Scott Nun­nery of Eric Smith & Associates reflect wood and rock exteriors with wooden truss beams.

Smith said his staff has gone to considerable lengths to meet the clients’ goals of making the condominiums at First Tracks livable for full-time residents.

“Every unit will have a large basement storage unit that’s big enough to store outdoor toys like kayaks and bicycles,” Smith said.

The first 47

David Burden, CEO of Timbers Resorts, the developers of One Steamboat Place, said he’s hopeful that First Tracks will fulfill the promise of a family neighborhood close to the base of the ski area.

Pearson said the motivation to make the buildings attractive comes not just from the city design guidelines but from the need to make them fit in well with the luxury, market-rate housing that will be just across the road from First Tracks.

“This is part of our community,” he said. “We need to build it to a level that doesn’t detract from the level of the rest of our product. The owners will be part of our homeowners’ association, and we want them to have a great experience.”

The First Tracks site is immediately east of the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Ultimately, Resort Ventures West will build four buildings comprising 96 units. However, the affordable housing requirements of The Range and Trailhead Lodge, plus One Steamboat Place, will be met by the 47 units in the first two buildings, with a handful left over.

The units will vary in size from a 547-square foot studio unit to a single-bedroom unit encompassing 783 square feet and two-bedroom units measuring 1,140 square feet. Of the 47 units, 25 will offer two bedrooms.

Pearson said the final prices won’t be set until final city approvals are won and the updated AMI (area median income) figures for 2008 are released later this spring, by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retail prices will not be driven by construction costs, Pearson added. And although it’s implicit that the market-rate housing at Wildhorse will subsidize the affordable units, the developers cannot quantify that relationship, he added.

Team effort

Pearson said RVW has formed a development partnership with Wintergreen Homes of Edwards to build the housing. Wintergreen has a long track record in Steamboat, having completed the Villas at Walton Creek, Quail Run and Sunray Meadows.

Ishida said Resort Ventures West has assembled a team of staff members and outside contractors to help identify qualified buyers and then qualify them under the housing guidelines. City Planning Director Tom Leeson has approved the process, she added.

Resort Ventures West’s Prop­erty Specialist Abby Varner will manage the registration process that begins Tuesday. Beginning in February and continuing into March, the company will host a series of homeownership and financing seminars so that prospective buyers understand the criteria they must meet.

Ishida said that process also will help buyers understand how deed-restricted housing, in spite of limits that prevent it from realizing the full rise in equity offered by the open market, can work out as a business proposition.

“It’s a great first method to create equity,” Ishida said.

Downtown Streetscape & Business District Funding

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs sets 2008 goals
Streetscape and business district funding dominate agenda for new year
By Melinda Dudley (Contact) / Steamboat Pilot/TODAY
Thursday, January 24, 2008

Steamboat Springs — For Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, the new year brings a chance for another special election to fund the Downtown Steamboat Springs Business Improvement District.

Along with getting a property tax measure passed for the district in November, Mainstreet’s other top objective for 2008 is funding the Downtown Streetscape Improvement Plan, which still is in the design stages, Executive Director Tracy Barnett said Tuesday at the organization’s annual membership meeting.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning large-scale improvements on Lincoln Avenue, scheduled to begin in summer 2009. As a result, Mainstreet plans to work heavily with consultants from Britina Design Group in the coming year, to develop Steamboat’s proposed downtown improvements and implement them along with the CDOT work.

Britina’s tentative proposals include the possibility of creating bike lanes down the center of Yampa Street, and making that street curve subtly to evoke the adjacent Yampa River. Other options include clearly defined, mid-block pedestrian crossings and pedestrian plazas on Lincoln Avenue.

After three general public meetings were held on the streetscape plan last year, Britina will now meet with special interest groups, such as bicyclists, to get their input, Barnett said.

Downtown is the city’s biggest asset in terms of “the Steamboat brand,” said Towny Anderson, president of Mainstreet’s Board of Directors.

Accordingly, Mainstreet views formalizing the status of the business improvement district as essential for achieving financial stability and being able to demonstrate long-term financial commitment to its public investment projects, Barnett said.

The business improvement district was founded in June 2007 to fund marketing, advocacy, parking management and beautification projects in the downtown core. But the district lacks its own source of funding after a property tax increase within its boundaries — between Yampa and Oak streets from Second to 13th streets — was defeated by six votes in a special election last year.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs has guaranteed funding from the city only through 2008. The business improvement district was designed to provide a clear financial future for downtown business advocacy efforts and public investment projects.

“Until we get to that position, it’s going to be very difficult to ask other people to invest in what we can’t invest in ourselves,” Barnett said.

Mainstreet is working on forming a new business improvement district committee and developing a strategic plan for next year’s election.

“It’s important this year that we get more participation from the stakeholders so they tell us what they really want,” Barnett said.

At Tuesday’s annual meeting, Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat was awarded Mainstreet’s Business of the Year award, and volunteers and officers for the organization were also honored.

“Art has been elevated to a new level, and downtown becoming an art and entertainment district is closer to becoming a reality,” Barnett said.

Mainstreet’s membership also re-elected its 2007 leadership — Anderson will serve another year as president, Bill Moser as vice president and Ruth Dombrowski as treasurer for the Board of Directors.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Our View: City, 700 Taking Right Approach

Our View: City, 700 taking right approach
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Editorial Board, Steamboat Pilot/TODAY
September 2007 through January 2008
Bryna Larsen, publisher
Brent Boyer, editor
Mike Lawrence, city editor
Tom Ross, reporter
Chan Coyle, community representative
Lynn Abbott, community representative

Steamboat Springs — It’s hard not to be encouraged by the early stages of the proposed Steamboat 700 development, and if last week’s Steamboat Springs City Council meeting is any indication, we think there is a strong possibility for the development to proceed in an expeditious manner that proves beneficial to the community and the developers.

Steamboat 700 project manager Danny Mulcahy and some of his consultants appeared before the council Tuesday for their first major public presentation of a development that could bring 2,000 homes to Steamboat Springs during the next 20 years.

We, like many community members, are pleased with what we see so far. But a potentially contentious annexation process stands in the way. We hope that process is one that results in substantial community benefit while also allowing the developers to carry out plans that include construction of a variety of attainable homes for Steamboat residents.

Plans for Steamboat 700 were born in March, when developers closed on the 540-acre Brown parcel for $25 million. The land represents about 85 percent of the property in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, or WSSAP. The development group, led by Mulcahy, also closed on an adjoining 160-acre parcel.

For years, the Brown property had been considered by city and county officials the ideal site for large-scale residential development. The WSSAP was written precisely to guide that development. When the sale was completed last spring, it brought cautious optimism that Steamboat would soon see the type of housing it needs the most — a mix of attainable single-family homes, condominiums and apartments.

Those homes are still several years from fruition, if not longer. Steamboat 700’s draft proposal calls for the construction of more than 2,000 homes throughout a 20-year period. Included in the detailed plans are 221 acres of open space, more than 10 miles of trails and enhancements to wetlands and riparian corridors. It’s likely Steamboat 700 would include a commercial core that, ideally, could house a grocery store, post office and other essential businesses and services.

But none of it will move forward until the Steamboat Springs City Council annexes the massive development. Mulcahy hopes the annexation process is completed this year so site grading and infrastructure work can begin in 2009, and home construction can commence in 2010.

We got our first glimpse of how the annexation process may proceed during last week’s City Council meeting, and we were encouraged by the responses from both sides. While Mulcahy and his team have been fine-tuning their message and development plans, city officials are preparing for an annexation process that will be critical to the future of the entire city, not just development west of town.

As city planning services manager John Eastman said, “There’s parts of this annexation that are new to all of us. We need to bring some people in to educate us.”

The city has only one shot to do it right. The annexation agreement must be beneficial to the community and also mitigate the impact the development will have on city services and budgets. Transportation issues along the U.S. Highway 40 corridor into downtown also are a primary concern.

Mulcahy has exhibited a commitment to openness and public input from the beginning, and that should be commended. This, of course, ultimately is a money-making venture for Mulcahy and his partners, but their vision for Steamboat 700 is one that closely matches what the community has said it wants from development west of the city.

If the annexation process is executed responsibly, that’s exactly what the community will get.

Willow Creek Neighbors and Snowmobiles

A neighborhood divided
North Routt subdivision split on snowmobile use
By Matt Stensland (Contact) Steambaot Pilot/TODAY
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Steamboat Springs — For more than 30 years, snowmobiles had been a common sight on the county roads that wind through the Willow Creek Pass subdivision. That changed last November, when officials realized state law prohibited snowmobiling on county roadways.

Not everyone in the North Routt County neighborhood was happy with the change, and residents say the result has been ongoing conflict between snowmobile advocates and detractors. Last week, those advocates appealed to the Routt County Board of Commissioners for help. They didn’t get the answer some had hoped for.

The Willow Creek Pass subdivision was established in 1972, just an uphill climb on Routt County Road 129 from Steamboat Lake. Snowmobiles were all but a necessity then because the county didn’t plow roads in the area.

In recent years, snowmobiles in the subdivision have taken on primarily a recreational use. With public lands less than a mile away, many residents could walk out their doors, hop on their sleds and enjoy the quick ride to an extensive area of rideable terrain. Some residents say the proximity to such terrain is the reason they moved to Willow Creek Pass.

“Snowmobiling has a long history of use within this neighborhood, and the homeowners association has historically taken responsibility to govern and control this use,” said Jeff Dillingham, who bought a home in the subdivision four years ago.

As the subdivision grew, so did the number of complaints about trespassing, noise and inappropriate behavior by snowmobilers.

In 2000, there were 85 homes built or permitted for construction in Willow Creek. Today, there are 153.

Snowmobile complaints increased when the density approached 100 homes, and HOA president Lanny Mack thinks the complaints will continue to increase as the subdivision is built out with more than 450 homes.

“More homes mean more snowmobilers, more traffic and more conflicts and problems,” Mack said.

Snowmobile use has become a divisive issue in the subdivision, pitting pro-snowmobile homeowners against those who see snowmobiles as a hazard detracting from their quality of life.

In a letter to Routt County Commissioners, Mack, who has served as the HOA president for six years and is against snowmobile use in the subdivision, wrote there have been incidents of threats and harassment.

“This harassment has included midnight visits from half dozen snowmobilers, groups of snowmobilers riding around their house and even snowmobiles riding on their roof,” Mack stated.

On Thursday, Mack said those are isolated incidents.

“Some people get frustrated and resort to that,” Mack said. “That’s not reflective of the community at all. You just have a couple people that are very passionate.”

In November 2007, it was discovered that snowmobile use on county roads had never been lawful. Prior to that, Mack said the HOA was relying on what proved to be bad information from the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, which had told them the law enforcement agency had no control over snowmobile use on the roads.

In 2005, homeowners elected not to prohibit snowmobile use in the neighborhood, said Dillingham, an avid snowmobiler who is one of several homeowners spearheading the effort to allow snow machining.

After the 2005 HOA meeting, a snowmobile committee was formed to help educate and enforce rules for snowmobile use in the neighborhood.

“During the winter of 2005-06, this committee was extremely successful in controlling reasonable snowmobile use within the neighborhood,” Dillingham said. “It was the difference between night and day.”

Last year, the homeowners association requested signs from the Routt County Road and Bridge Department to help communicate snowmobile rules. In November, Road and Bridge officials told them the only signs they could provide were ones stating that snowmobiles are not allowed on county roads, per state statute.

On Tuesday, advocates for snowmobiling in Willow Creek made their case to Routt County Commissioners, who have the power to allow snowmobiling on county roads. The meeting was meant to discuss the issue, and no formal vote was taken.

“We’re just trying to go forward with the issue and see if we can get some of our snowmobiling rights,” Dillingham said.

Neighbors on both sides of the issue filled the commissioners meeting room.

Gary Spinuzzi, of Pueblo, has a second home in Willow Creek. He said that when he purchased his home in April, being able to snowmobile in the subdivision to access public lands was a big factor in his decision.

“The problems are way overstated,” Spinuzzi said. “If you took a census up there, we all have 3.2 snowmobiles per household.”

Dillingham presented a petition that indicated 93 of the 153 homeowners had signed in support of snowmobiling on subdivision roads.

Commissioner Nancy Sta­hoviak said a majority of homeowners was not enough for her to permit the use snowmobiles in the subdivision.

“I believe that if we have a residential neighborhood where there is not consensus among everyone. … I, as a commissioner, am not going to force it on the neighborhood,” said Stahoviak, citing safety issues and the county’s historical stance against allowing snowmobiles on county roads. “Unless the Willow Creek subdivision can come together as a group and create a proposal that everyone accepts, there is no way I can move forward with allowing snowmobiles on the road.”

Commissioners Doug Monger and Diane Mitsch Bush echoed Stahoviak’s opinion.

“We have been championed to try to help (with) safety and welfare, and we don’t believe that is in the best interest of that,” Monger said. “There is the potential for the HOA to come up with some compromise plan.”

Despite the strong initial opposition from commissioners, Dillingham said snowmobile advocates won’t give up.

“It looks like we are going to chase this process down and fight this battle,” he said.

Ski-in, Ski-out in High Demand

Ski-in, ski-out in high demand
Twin Ski Trail Lane townhomes sell for combined $10.7 million
By Tom Ross (Contact) Steamboat Pilot/TODAY
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Steamboat Springs — The secluded Ski Trail Lane neighborhood, quiet for dec­ades, has been the scene of not­able real estate sales activity this winter.

Both halves of a ski-in, ski-out duplex organized as a townhome subdivision sold this month for $5.4 million and $5.3 million, respectively. And duplex lots in the neighborhood are listed for nearly $2 million.

David Baldinger Jr., a principal in Steamboat Village Brokers, brought the buyer for the $5.4 million unit purchased by Stephen and Janet Zide of Old Greenwich, Conn. Bridget Asbury of Colorado Group Realty brought the buyer for the $5.3 million home purchased by the Hugh Grant Revocable Trust based in St. Louis, Mo.

The homes were developed by Florida-based Realtor Doug Martel, who owns a home in Steamboat Springs.

Ski Trail Lane, although technically not a one-way street, is most easily accessed from the west off Val d’Isere Circle.

The new owners will drive beneath the Steamboat gondola to reach their homes. They are situated between the gondola lift line and the new Christie Peak Express chairlift.

Asbury said Grant committed to the 6,277-square-foot home when it was still being framed by Weitz Construction of Glen­wood Springs and Denver.

“He just happened to be in town last Christmas for the first time in 10 years,” Asbury said. “He’s very astute and believes Steamboat will continue to grow. He never even looked at another property.”

Baldinger Jr. said scarce duplex lots near the base of the ski area are also highly sought-after. He has a 0.65-acre lot on nearby Poma Lane listed for $1.9 million. His colleague, Cindy Rogers, has another lot on Ski Trail Lane listed for the same price.

Baldinger Jr. said that earlier this year another Realtor sold a vacant lot on Ski Trail Lane for $1.375 million. And an existing A-frame home with wings on either side sold for $1.5 million. It dates from the late 1960s, he said.

Arlene Zopf at Steamboat Village Brokers confirmed she has a nearly completed duplex home by Mike Roberts of Hab­itat Construction under contract at a price close to its asking price of $4.3 million. There is strong demand for the most expensive properties in Steamboat right now, she said.

“We are hearing from a lot of buyers who want that really nice property, and the price doesn’t seem to be an object,” she said. “I have a lady from Texas coming this weekend and she only wants to look at ski-in, ski-out properties — only the best.”

Although the Habitat home is under contract, Zopf said she still fields one or two inquiries about it every week.

Asbury said she thinks the high demand for ski-in, ski-out homes in Steamboat can be attributed in part to the fact that there are so few single-family or duplex units that fit that description.

94 Deed Restricted Condominiums near Tennis Center

First Tracks treks on
Project includes 94 deed-restricted units near ski base
By Brandon Gee / Steamboat Pilot/TODAY
Friday, January 25, 2008

Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs Plan­­­ning Commission voted, 6-1, to recommend approval of the First Tracks housing project that will bring 94 deed-restricted condominiums to the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.

First Tracks is a component of the Wildhorse Meadows development that proposes 1 million square feet of residential space and 35,000 square feet of commercial space. The Steamboat Springs City Council approved a preliminary plat and development plan for the entire project in July 2006. First Tracks is proposed for a parcel just east of the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

Mariana Ishida, development manager for Wildhorse Meadows developer Resort Ventures West, called First Tracks “Steamboat’s most anticipated affordable housing.” The project includes 76 affordable housing units required of Wildhorse Mea­dows, 18 units required of the One Steamboat Place development and two market-rate units. City ordinances require developers to provide deed-restricted, affordable units in addition to market-rate housing and commercial spaces.

In approving the project, the majority of commissioners echoed Ishida’s enthusiasm.

“This does seem like a great project,” Commissioner Rich Levy said. “I’m excited to see affordable housing coming on line and on site.”

Despite the blessing of city staff — in a report that noted no inconsistencies with city codes or variance requests — the project was debated for two hours by the commission Thursday. In the end, Chairman Steve Lewis was the only commissioner to vote against the project, saying it was inconsistent with the plans approved in 2006.

The original development plan showed 11 townhouse buildings on the parcel. The current proposal is for four condominium buildings. Lewis said he felt the proposal was “lower class” than the original.

“It’s simply not what we were looking at from the beginning,” Lewis said. “It just isn’t close enough to what I was considering when I approved the original site plan.”

Another major point of discussion in Thursday’s hearing could foretell the future consideration of other Wildhorse projects. Commissioners questioned how First Tracks was meeting its requirement for on-site amenities. Debate centered on whether amenities for all of Wildhorse Meadows, but not on the First Tracks parcel, counted.

“It’s getting a little shady what counts as an amenity,” Levy said. “The further we get away from this project, the less valuable I think the amenities are.”

Architect Eric Smith said amenities such as a proposed gondola from Wildhorse Meadows to the Steamboat Ski Area and a sledding hill would benefit the residents of First Tracks and should be counted.

“Just being part of Wild­horse Meadows is a huge amenity,” Smith said.

In the end, commissioners followed a city staff recommendation that the developer should show amenities are being provided on-site as a condition of approval.

“I do agree … that having a sledding hill a quarter of a mile or an eighth of a mile away, that’s not really an amenity for this site,” said Tom Leeson, director of planning and community development.

Also Tuesday, commissioners gave their unanimous approval to a 5,250-square-foot office building proposed for the corner of Oak and Fourth streets. In its fourth appearance before the Planning Commission, a proposed addition to the Sears on Shield Drive received a unanimous recommendation for approval after reaching an agreement with city staff regarding sidewalk construction.

— To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail

Rent VS. Sale

Eric S. Morris and Jeffrey C. Minotto: Rent vs. sale
Sunday, January 20, 2008 Steambot Pilot/TODAY - Viewer Opinion

Steamboat Springs — While reading the article “First day at First Tracks pulls in 45” (Steamboat Today, Jan. 17), we were struck by the statement from Mariana Ishida whereby the list of 45 names for 47 units would have “to grow in leaps.”

First of all, we recognize that this region lacks a sufficient number of affordable residential units that can accommodate the people who provide the vast majority of services or produce the goods for our resort-based economy. Therefore, we commend the leaders, both governmental and private sector, for trying to meet those needs. However, we feel the city’s mandate is misguided because it requires the building of affordable units for sale rather than for rent.

Affordable for-sale projects in Steamboat have had trouble finding enough people to qualify for a mortgage while meeting the maximum income guidelines. The city’s Community Housing Plan needs to be revised so that the majority of affordable residential units are offered for rent rather than for sale. Fifteen percent to 25 percent (to be altered after further market study) of the total planned affordable units should be offered for sale to accommodate people who will most likely stay in the valley long-term, such as teachers and nurses. However, the balance of the units should be offered for rent at below-market rates to accommodate the majority of workers who have demonstrated a history of transience. This plan will reduce the need for long commutes from Hayden and Craig and will allow those workers to become further and more deeply ingrained in the community.

Even though we are dealing in something outside the “free” market, the rules of the market, dictated by supply and demand, still apply. The extended time needed to sell the affordable units in town, either from lack of demand or the inability of most interested parties to qualify, demonstrates that the true market demand is for affordable rentals rather than “forcing” a market that does not exist by offering these affordable units for sale.

Eric S. Morris and Jeffrey C. Minotto

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ski Time Square Redevelpment

Ski Time Square shift discussed
City, developers hope realignment will accompany redevelopment
By Brandon Gee / Steamboat Pilot/TODAY
Monday, January 21, 2008

Steamboat Springs — Developers are making progress in negotiations that could result in a major realignment of Ski Time Square Drive. The realignment would be part of the impending redevelopment of Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.

The Atira Group is expected to begin the massive redevelopment project after the ski season. The Atira Group has been hired on behalf of Washington, D.C.-based Cafritz Interests, which purchased the base area properties in April.

“They haven’t got any kind of a deal done at this point,” Steamboat Springs Planning Services Manager John Eastman said Friday about the realignment proposal. “But I think they feel they’re getting closer.”

The city’s Mountain Town Subarea Plan calls for Ski Time Square Drive to be relocated to the north to allow for a more pedestrian-friendly plaza in the space currently occupied by the road. The Atira Group’s initial submittal to the city did not include a realignment of the road. In its first review by the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission, commissioners made clear their disappointment with plans that did not include the realignment.

“When I see the Ski Time Square Drive in the same place it’s always been, that’s a real bummer,” Scott Myller said at the Nov. 8 meeting. The meeting was Myller’s last as a planning commissioner before joining the Steamboat Springs City Council.

Eastman said Atira has since provided an initial layout for realignment.

“It looks really good,” Eastman said. “It’s a significant improvement over the current proposal.”

Mark Matthews, a vice president of development with The Atira Group, confirmed that progress has been made.

“We are still in negotiations with the two (condominium) associations that the proposed road would be going over,” Matthews said Friday. “It’s moving along, and I’m happy about that.”

Matthews noted that negotiations with homeowner associations tend to take longer than others.

If its negotiations are successful, The Atira Group has floated the idea of having the realignment paid for by the Steamboat Spring Redevelopment Authority, an urban renewal authority formed by the city in 2005. The authority receives property taxes and sales taxes over a base amount established in 2005 to fund infrastructure projects at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.

Matthews said the realignment is exactly the type of project the URA was formed for, but Eastman said the proposal to use authority funds received a mixed reception from the Urban Redevelopment Authority Ad­­visory Committee.

“There’s a big range of opinion,” Eastman said. “It’s not a simple answer.”

Eastman said some on the advisory committee sided with Matthews, particularly because the realignment is called for in a city area plan.

The project would be consistent with other URA projects, said Eastman, who noted the other road and sidewalk improvement projects completed this year with authority funds.

Others thought the developer should fund the project as part of the overall redevelopment’s public-benefit requirements.

Eastman said all base area projects are required to provide “community amenities” valued at 0.5 percent of their overall construction value. Things such as public art or enhanced pedestrian corridors can be considered community amenities.

“That’s required for every project, no matter what,” Eastman said.

Also, developers must provide “public benefits” to offset any exceptions to city codes. This projects requests such exceptions, including height variances for buildings as high as 10 stories.

The result of the URAAC meeting was a consensus that more information is needed before the commission can make a recommendation. Eastman said the city will have a better understanding of where the redevelopment stands in terms of public benefit and community amenities when it has had a chance to go through more of the planning process.

“It’s conceivable that Ski Time Square Drive wouldn’t move for a couple years,” Eastman said. “That’s a long time out in the future to figure that one out.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

700 LLC - Steamboat Rolls Out Experts

Open house rolls out experts
Steamboat 700 holds event for public to view proposals
By Tom Ross Steamboat Pilot & TODAY
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The city of Steamboat Springs is updating information on the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation at
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat 700 should someday have a city park that is as compelling as venerable Howelsen Hill in the heart of Old Town Steamboat Springs, Chris Wilson said Tuesday night.

Steamboat 700 represents a new development proposal that would add 700 acres and 2,000 homes to the city during a span of 10 to 20 years. During an open house at Centennial Hall on Tuesday, community leaders and development experts probed some of the important details in the tentative plan.

Wilson is the city’s director of parks, open spaces and recreational services. He said a landmark park would help reinforce both the identity of the new community as well as ensure that it is seamlessly absorbed into the larger city.

Don’t expect a ski area at the future Steamboat 700 site, Wilson said. However, he said a park in the development should be capable of hosting events like fairs and markets that would lend an identity to the neighborhood.

Wilson added that the Parks and Recreation Commission would take the new master planned development into account in its own master plan.

“We need to make sure, throughout this whole process, that it becomes as forward thinking and as special as Steamboat is now,” Wilson said.

Steamboat 700 has just entered the city planning process with many public hearings to follow.

“The area is going to grow. It needs to be done in a thoughtful way,” Bud Romberg said. “This is probably the most appropriate area” to absorb that growth.

Romberg is a former city planning commissioner and city councilman.

Bill Fox of Fox Higgins Transportation Group said U.S. Highway 40 west of down­town Steamboat is overdue for improvements, and the Steamboat 700 development could provide the impetus for such work.

In addition to oft-discussed plans to widen the two-lane highway west of 13th Street to four lanes, Fox suggests widening the single block of Lincoln Avenue from 12th to 13th streets to six lanes. That is the one block along Highway 40 that doesn’t afford the opportunity for some redundancy via a parallel street. Throughout downtown, Oak and Yampa streets offer an alternative for motorists, Fox pointed out.

“That’s the beauty of any grid of streets,” he said. “You have some parallel capacity.

Further west, Fox supports the notion of a traffic roundabout to replace the confusing intersection of U.S. 40 and Routt County Road 129 (Elk River Road). The current configuration of that intersection results in disjointed turning movements that slow traffic, he said.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail

700 Brews Excitement

700 brews excitement
Concerns raised about traffic, review process
By Brandon Gee Steamboat Pilot & TODAY
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For up-to-date information on the Steamboat 700 annexation and development, visit and
Steamboat Springs — The first major public presentation of the Steamboat 700 development drew mostly enthusiasm from a packed Centennial Hall audience Tuesday night.

Developers spared no re­­sources in their pitch to a joint gathering of the Steamboat Springs City Council and Planning Commission. Several consultants — spanning disciplines from traffic to affordable housing — joined Steamboat 700 partner and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy in presenting the project that proposes to bring more than 2,000 homes throughout 20 years to 700 acres west of the city. Mulcahy hopes to have those acres annexed into city limits.

No action was taken on the proposal Tuesday night. The city’s main goal was to discuss the process by which the annexation request and proposed development will be reviewed. Or, as Planning Services Manager John Eastman said, Tuesday’s meeting was a bureaucrat’s specialty: “a meeting about meetings.”

Eastman said the proposal represents uncharted waters for the city, and as part of the process proposed a seminar series that would help prepare both the City Council and staff members.

“There’s parts of this annexation that are new to all of us,” Eastman said. “We need to bring some people in to educate all of us.”

The city’s West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan calls for 33 percent affordable housing, with 20 percent provided by the developer. Mulcahy’s affordable housing plan drew large support Tuesday. Peter Smirniotopoulos, Steamboat 700’s affordable housing consultant, described Steamboat 700’s developers as “enlightened” and said this is the first time his company, UniDev, has agreed to work with a private developer.

In addition to deed restrictions and other traditional approaches to affordable housing, Mulcahy hopes to establish a “perpetual transfer fund” for affordable housing. Mulcahy sees this fund as being comprised of a 1 percent fee on all retail sales within the development, in perpetuity. Mulcahy said Monday that such a fund would provide more flexibility than other approaches.

“Not one community in the country has affordable housing figured out,” Mulcahy said. “The best thing to do is get a pool of money together so there’s a variety of options available.”

Local attorney Ralph Cantafio said Steamboat 700 represents one of the city’s last opportunities to address affordable housing.

“If this vision is not adopted, I believe we run the risk of more 35-acre lots and more trophy homes,” Cantafio said.

Setting the table
The city’s review process for Steamboat 700 was billed as the major focus of Tuesday’s meeting, and it also proved to be the main bone of contention regarding the development. Concerns have been raised about the Community Development Code’s requirement of a “pre-annexation agreement” that has been subject to differing interpretations.

The code states that, “No petition of land shall be reviewed or approved until the petitioner and the city have negotiated and entered into a pre-annexation agreement.” Some, including Councilwoman Meg Bentley and former Councilman Towny Anderson, have interpreted that language strictly and believe the city should not engage in any review process until a comprehensive pre-annexation agreement is worked out.

City staff and Bob Weiss, a local land-use attorney representing Steamboat 700, both have responded by moving the pre-annexation agreement further ahead in the process than originally proposed, but some anxiety remains. The different interpretations for what the pre-annexation agreement should be were voiced in a brief verbal spar between Bentley and Councilwoman Cari Her­macinski.

Hermacinski said an overly broad agreement early in the process could tie the city’s hands in the future. She said the pre-annexation agreement should look more like a “table of contents” to the ultimate annexation agreement that would be approved with an annexation ordinance.

Bentley disagreed.

“Our community code, to me, is much more precise and demanding than that,” she said. “I would like to see a pre-annexation agreement — in great detail — before anything else is done. To me that’s the law and we need to abide by the law or change the law.”

Anderson added similar remarks during public comment, noting that the pre-annexation agreement is City Council’s “opportunity to lay out the policies that will guide this development.” But he also joined the prevailing opinion that Steamboat 700 “is a pretty exciting plan.”

“The manifestation of new urbanism at this level is absolutely remarkable,” Anderson said.

The other prevalent concern raised Tuesday was traffic. Bill Fox, Steamboat 700’s traffic consultant, noted that the project will encourage public transit and result in new roads being built. But many still are concerned about already heavy traffic on U.S. Highway 40, particularly at the 13th Street bottleneck where the highway goes from four lanes to two, heading west.

“I think that’s a major issue we as a community need to work out,” Steamboat resident Bud Rogers said. “I very much think we need to get that solved first.”

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Steamboat Springs Commercial Pricing - January 12th, 2008

Steamboat Commercial Pricing January 12, 2008:

Commercial Property Available & Pending / Price Per Square Foot (PPSF):
1. Sundance – Anglers 3 Building - $400.00 PPSF
2. Sundance – Anglers 4 Building - $450.29 PPSF
3. Welding & Fabrication Building (1778 Lincoln Ave. - $441.72 PPSF
4. Architectural Office (117 12th Street) - $730.52 PPSF
5. Fox Creek ( Hilltop Parkway) - $405.64 PPSF
6. Multi Tenant commercial/warehouse (1885 Elk River Plaza) - $169.78 PPSF
7. Copper Ridge Business Park (2670 Copper ridge Cir. -Live/Work Warehouse)- $244.73
8. Old Standard Plumbing Building (2875 Elk River Road) - $363.25 PPSF
9. Copper Ridge Business Park (2520 Copper Ridge DR - Live/Work Warehouse)- $259.43
10. 1880 Logger’s Lane - $265.63 PPSF

11. Shops @ The Grand (Unit C7A 2300 Mount Werner) - $400.00 PPSF
12. Shops @ The Grand (Unit C5 2300 Mount Werner) - $400.00 PPSF
13. The Olympian Unit 103 – 5th & Yampa - $450 PPSF
14. Copper Ridge Business Park (2522 Copper Ridge Drive) - $249.00 PPSF
15. West Park Place Building (1125 Lincoln Ave.) - $395.00/ $300.00 PPSF
16. The Olympian Unit 101 – 5th & Yampa - $450.77 PPSF
17. The Olympian Unit 102 – 5th & Yampa - $450.20 PPSF
18. Shops @ The Grand (Unit C8A 2300 Mount Werner Circle) - $400.00 PPSF
19. The Olympian Unit #C206 (5th & Yampa) - $450.56 PPSF
20. Blades Building – (2101 Snow Bowl Plaza) - $491.60 PPSF
21. Home on the Range Building @ Torian Plum ( 1865 Ski Time Square) - $566.10 PPSF
22. 20 Mile Industrial Center (1280 13th Street Unit G) - $259.00 PPSF
23. Shops @ The Grand (Unit C7B 2300 Mount Werner) - $400.00 PPSF
24. Copper Ridge – (Unit # 4, 2655 Copper Ridge Circle) - $486.00 PPSF
25. Shops @ The Grand (Unit C8B 2300 Mount Werner Circle) - $500.00 PPSF

If you would like to learn more about any property listed or some of the new developments not represented in this report, call Michelle Diehl, Broker Associate, at (970)846-1086

Mountain Mayhem: Real Estate Gone Wild

Mountain mayhem: real estate gone wild

Resort counties on record pace for combined sales despite fourth-quarter cooling

Scott Condon
Aspen, CO Colorado
December 24, 2007


ASPEN — Five Colorado mountain resort counties will set a combined record for real estate sales this year even though the market has cooled in recent months, a recent report indicates.

The home counties of mega-resorts such as Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat, plus Garfield County, reached $8.56 billion in sales by the end of October, a report compiled by Land Title Guarantee Co. showed. That is an increase of 24 percent over combined sales of $7.41 billion through October 2006.

Eagle County had sales of $2.54 billion through October while Pitkin County was close behind at $2.22 billion. Sales in Vail and Beaver Creek fuel the Eagle County market while Pitkin County is dominated by Aspen and Snowmass Village. Pitkin County is having its second-best year for sales and could break the record set last year. Eagle County is on pace to challenge its record year of $2.8 billion in 2005.

The dollar volume of other resort counties lags far behind. Routt County, where Steamboat is located, had sales of $1.39 billion through October. That already eclipses the total sales for all of 2006, Land Title Guarantee Co.’s report said. The real estate market there has more than doubled in dollar volume since 2004.

Sales in Summit County — home of Copper Mountain and Keystone in addition to Breckenridge — were at $1.34 billion through October.

Garfield County has a real estate market fueled by the natural gas production boom in Rifle and Silt, as well as second-home sales. The county’s dollar volume of $1.03 billion through October was close to topping last year’s record $1.05 billion.

The five counties combined for total sales of $9.19 billion last year. Sales in Pitkin, Eagle and Routt counties cooled considerably in the fourth quarter of this year compared to 2006. Even so, the counties remained on pace for a record for dollar volume.

Land Title Guarantee Co.’s report showed why affordable housing is harder to find in mountain resort towns than a seat in church at Christmas. The lowest average home price in the region was Garfield County at $450,240, the report said. The highest average price, by far, was in Pitkin County at $4.52 million.

Elsewhere, the average home price was:
• $1.41 million in Eagle County.
• $928,776 in Routt County.
• $794,391 in Summit County.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chat with Danny Mulcahy of Steamboat 700 LLC

Chat with Danny Mulcahy of Steamboat 700 LLC
August 3, 2007

Danny Mulcahy is the project manager for Steamboat 700 LLC, which has purchased the 540-acre Brown property west of Steamboat Springs with plans for new housing development that will be annexed into the city.
sstanford: Welcome to our chat today with Danny Mulcahy of Steamboat 700 LLC. Thanks for joining us Danny. Are you ready to go?
Danny Mulcahy: Yes, I am ready to go

sstanford: Steamboat 700 held a gathering last week to gather feedback on its conceptual plans for the property west of Steamboat Springs. What was the overriding feedback you received at the gathering?
Danny Mulcahy: Overall it was very good. I was happy with the attendence. It was very insightful and it was exactly the type of feedback we were looking for. People definetly feel strongly about it

corduroy: Does Steamboat 700 plan to allow residents to purchase lots for building? Why or why not?
Danny Mulcahy: Most people wanted to know when and how to buy lots. There was a sense of urgency, people want some housing altermnatives

sstanford: Your plans include a "village center" that would include retail development. Explain what a village center is and the types of commercial development you see working in the west Steamboat area.
Danny Mulcahy: We do expect there to be indivdual lots sales. We are hoping to have some larger developments to help accomodate attainability.
Moderator: I may have gotten ahead of you a little bit ... do you want to answer the question about the Village center now? Here it is again: Your plans include a "village center" that would include retail development. Explain what a village center is and the types of commercial development you see working in the west Steamboat area.
Danny Mulcahy: We are planning a mixed use town center that incorporates retail, office and housing. The retail is directed at supporting West Steamboat only.
Moderator: How soon might we see a grocery store?
Danny Mulcahy: A grocery store was the single most requested amenity at the open house. The distributors and grocery stores will have to do their own market demand study to determine when they would want to open. They have to have enough roof tops for it to be viable.

sstanford: Suppose everything goes exactly as you plan. Describe the build-out on the Steamboat 700 property. In other words, how many house over how many years?
Danny Mulcahy: The projected build out timeline is between 12 and 15 years on a best case scenario and could possible be extended to 20+ years. We expect nearly 2000 units of every product type to include condos, townhomes, duplexs, single family detached. The WSSAP projects 1100 to 2600 units.

sstanford: Steamboat 700 will have to build 20 percent deed-restricted affordable housing. You have said Steamboat 700 is ready to embrace that requirement. What are your thoughts on such deed-restricted housing?
Danny Mulcahy: We intend to meet the City's affordable housing requirements, deed restrictions are one tool to accomplish long term affordability others may be investigated. We want a long term plan that truly benefits the community.

sstanford: Using today's dollars, give me a size and price range of the free-market housing you expect to be built in the area.
Danny Mulcahy: We are still investigating the pricing, we are not fully aware aware of all our cost. We have designed a majority of our single family housing lots to be 4,500 to 8,000 sqft lots to make our market rate housing more attainable.

sstanford: There are those who fear Steamboat 700 will flood the market with housing and depress existing Steamboat prices. Others see Steamboat 700 as the answer to a lack of housing inventory. They believe the market can absorb the new inventory without a negative impact on prices. What do you think Steamboat 700's impact will be?
Danny Mulcahy: I don't think our project will affect the pricing downtown or at the base area at all and because we are not projecting very many 1/3 acre lots the pricing in Silver spur, heritage, and Steamboat two should actually go up. By increasing the supply, prices will likely stabilize for a period of time but we shouldn't negatively effect current values.

sstanford: Many people are very concerned about future traffic and bottlenecking from the Steamboat 700 site. With likely more than 1,000 homes projected for the site, how are you addressing traffic concerns?
Danny Mulcahy: This is definitely a sensitive subject for our project and for the community at large. It was another of the big issues at our open house. The City is making progress by conducting the regional access study which is on going today. We have had multiple discussiions with the City and County about this issue. Regardless of our project the community and the city needs to make some hard decisions. Traffic is the ultimate constraint on our projects mix of housing and commercial. We are are working diligently to assist the city and county with resolving the traffic issues. Diane Mitsch-Bush and Jim Weber are actively involved with the major groups in the region to get Routt county on the map for road way improvements.
Moderator: That concludes our chat for today. Danny, thanks for your time.
Danny Mulcahy: Thank you for your time and for inviting me to particpate. Please feel free to contact me at anytime if you have questions or concerns. 970-846-2192
Rifle club prepares to relocate in face of development
By Brandon Gee Steamboat Pilot/TODAY
Sunday, January 6, 2008

Steamboat Springs — As the specter of residential development slowly envelops it, the Routt County Rifle Club is preparing to move from its 40-acre home on U.S. Highway 40 just west of Steamboat Springs city limits. The gun club shares its north border with a southern boundary of the Steamboat 700 development that proposes to bring more than 2,000 homes to a 700-acre parcel. Steamboat 700 developers hope to have their land annexed into the city limits. Steamboat “700’s going to shut us down,” said Ken Klinger, a Routt County Sheriff’s Office investigator and frequent user of the range. “You can’t have kids running around, and they cross the line and they’re on a firing range.”

According to a letter sent to various officials by Rifle Club member Omar Campbell — the oldest active member of the club, the gun club land was originally purchased in 1948. “As far as I know, it has been an ongoing amenity of the community ever since,” Campbell wrote.
Steamboat Springs Planning Director Tom Leeson said the Routt County Rifle Club could legally continue operating despite surrounding development, but he said the club recognized the incompatibility. “I think it was always anticipated that the gun club would move as that property was enveloped by residential development,” Leeson said. “They’ve known for a long time that this was on the horizon. … They understand that if they wanted to stay, they probably could, but they’re trying to be good neighbors.”

Routt County Rifle Club board member Dave Kleiber said liability concerns also are prevailing on the club. He said making a stand is not worth the possibility of a bullet escaping the range and shutting the club down for good. “It ain’t making things easy for us,” Kleiber, a detective with the Steamboat Springs Police Department, said of the encroaching development. “But because of the residential development and the sale of the Brown property, it’s perpetuating the need to move the club. We think the prudent thing to do would be to look at where we can move the range.”

The right price
The geography of the shooting range is a small basin. Despite its high surrounding ridges and protective berms, Sheriff’s Office Investigator Mike Curzon noted that any caliber gun could send a bullet beyond the boundaries of the range if fired irresponsibly.
“Once a bullet’s left the barrel, there’s no way to stop it,” Curzon said. “Safety’s got to be a concern. … It’s a concern already, and 700’s not even in.”
Kleiber said the club has some properties it is interested in buying and has received interest from potential buyers of its current location, including the developers of Steamboat 700.
“I’ve talked to them several times and made them an offer on their land which they chose not to accept,” Steamboat 700 Project Manager Danny Mulcahy said.Mulcahy said the club didn’t reject him outright, but rather did not know what direction its membership wanted to move at the time of his offer. He said he still might be interested in the property.
“At the right price, always,” said Mulcahy,” but it’s not integral to my plan. I don’t have to acquire it.”If he did acquire it, Mulcahy said he would likely use the land for retail or industrial purposes.

Kleiber said the gun club board wants “as much as we can get” for its land, but he would not be more specific. Mulcahy and the other developers of Steamboat 700 bought the 540-acre Brown property for $24.6 million, or just over $45,500 an acre, in March 2007. If the Rifle Club’s 40 acres fetched the same amount an acre, it would sell for more than $1.8 million. Kleiber also would not be specific about the properties the gun club is interested in purchasing, except to say that the club’s goal is to remain within a 20- or 30-minute drive of Steamboat. The most difficult part of the situation, Kleiber said, is timing the sale of the current property and the purchase of a replacement one in such a way that there is no significant interruption in having a range available.

Training grounds
Such an interruption would affect many more people than the Rifle Club’s 350 members. Archers, biathlon athletes with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, hunters, law enforcement officers and others also use the range. “The impact on this is a little known thing in the community for the most part, but there’s (hundreds) of members,” Klinger said. “That’s a lot of people. The loss of this will be a big deal if they don’t find another property.”
For law enforcement, the largest concern associated with a loss of the range for any period of time is the loss of training ground. “We use the facility a lot, and we’re just one agency,” Curzon said. While other shooting ranges exist in Yampa and Hayden, Klinger noted that they don’t have the same facilities or maintain the same level of upkeep. Neither has an indoor range, for example. Klinger said the Sheriff’s Office uses the Rifle Club’s indoor range to train deputies on shooting in the dark using flashlights. Klinger noted that most law enforcement shootings occur after dark. “We have to train,” Klinger said. “We have to keep our guys trained up as much as we can. If we can’t get our guys trained up and there’s an incident, the county can be held liable for failure to train.” In any event, there will likely be plenty of time for law enforcement agencies and others to prepare for the imminent departure of the Routt County Rifle Club from its current home.
“This is in the infancy of the process,” Kleiber said. “The timeframe we’re looking at is a two- to three-year process. We anticipate the range is going to stay where it’s at currently for at least a couple years.”
— To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210
or e-mail

Fractional Home Ownership/Fractions of a Home

Fractions of a home
Interval ownership rising in area
By Tom Ross
Sunday, January 6, 2008

The new year is ushering in greater emphasis on interval, or fractional, real estate sales.
Bruce Carta of Land Title Guarantee Co. has added a spreadsheet tracking fractional sales to his monthly market analysis. “As real estate prices in the valley continue to rise and new products like One Steamboat Place and the second phase of The Porches come on line, we will probably see a trend that has taken off at other resorts around the West,” Carta said.

One Steamboat Place, under construction in the former gondola parking lot at the Steamboat Ski Area, will offer a mix of luxury whole ownership and fractional ownership, or “residential interests.” In early 2007, One Steam­boat Place developer David Burden, CEO of Timbers Resorts, said his company had begun offering 336 one-eighth interests in homes, at prices that began at $415,000 in November 2006. One Steamboat Place raised prices twice early last year, finally reaching $455,000. Burden predicted future prices could top $600,000. Timbers Resorts literature confirms that current asking prices for a one-eighth interest range from $625,000 to $735,000.

Cam Boyd of Prudential Steamboat Realty said the growing acceptance of fractional ownership units in Steamboat is probably linked to higher prices for resort real estate here.
“It’s going to become more and more significant here,” Boyd said. “It has been more common in Aspen, Vail and Jackson, where there is price resistance to the prices for ski-in/ski-out whole ownership. Our market has never been at that point. But as new projects come on line at the base of the ski area, there’s going to be more demand.”

Steamboat has been standoffish to interval ownership projects since 2000. The Steamboat Grand Resort Ho­­tel opened in the early part of this decade and struggled to sell quarter shares at much lower prices than the current market. American Skiing Co. cleared out 239 fractional units and 30 whole units in a March 2006 auction that grossed $23 million. Now, Carta’s new spreadsheet shows there is a notable market for resales of intervals at the Grand.
Through November, the Grand had seen 92 transactions at an average transaction price of $110,772, for an aggregate total of $10.2 million.

Christie Club’s ski-in/ski-out intervals have seen 22 transactions at an average price of $222,564, totaling $4.9 million. Interval transactions in Steamboat for November totaled $1.18 million.

A large vacation ownership developer, Trendwest/Wyndham, is in the midst of building 142 interval ownership condominiums across Pine Grove Road from the ski area’s Meadows parking lot. The company reports it has more than 750,000 members.

Downtown Steamboat Developments/Buying to Sell

Buying to sell
Commercial spots nearly full in downtown developments
By Melinda Dudley/ Steambot Pilot/TODAY
Sunday, January 6, 2008

The new year will bring plenty of change to downtown Steamboat Springs, as hundreds of new residential and commercial tenants are scheduled to move into a number of mixed-use projects, and the next wave of development is scheduled to break ground.

Although residential condominium sales downtown saw a slow end to 2007, developers expect sales to speed up as the projects near completion and are reporting extremely high demand for commercial space. At mixed-use developments under construction downtown, buying or leasing opportunities for businesses and retailers are all but gone.

Lincoln Avenue’s Alpen Glow, The Victoria and Howelsen Place developments are on schedule for completion later this year, with River Walk to break ground on the east side of downtown after the spring thaw. Two additional projects on Yampa Street also are in the planning stages.
Commercial demand was expected to be high, with the planned developments adding more than 200 units to downtown, developer Jim Cook said. “That’s a market unto itself,” Cook said. “The affordable housing units aside, these people are going to have a considerable amount of disposable income.”

Commercial space at Alpenglow, Lincoln Avenue and Sixth Street — and at its sister development, Howelsen Place, one block away — has all been “spoken for,” said broker Joe Cashen of Colorado Group Realty. Colorado Group Realty has announced two of the commercial tenants at Alpenglow — All That Jazz will be the ground floor’s corner anchor, and Sleeping Giant Gallery also will relocate to the building. The two established Steamboat businesses, and a number of other unspecified commercial tenants, will be able to begin finishing work on their spaces in about two months, with targeted June 1 opening days. Six residential units remain available at Alpenglow — three townhomes and three condominiums. Sales were slow at the end of the year.
“Real estate in general takes a lull in November and December,” Cashen said. “It’s the end of the tax year, and everybody’s spending money on presents.”
Now that ski season is in full swing and the projects are nearing completion, the remaining units are expected to go quickly.
“There’s a lot of fresh eyes coming to Steamboat this year, and this is their first glimpse of downtown,” Cashen said. “None of these projects broke ground when they were here skiing last year.” Downtown projects have seen two types of residential buyers, according to Cook — those who take advantage of better prices and get in early, and those who want to wait and see, and literally be able to “touch and feel” the project before they buy.

The Victoria
The Victoria, 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue, is on track for construction to be completed in June and condo occupancy to be delivered to tenants early this summer, said Prudential Steamboat Realty broker/owner Pam Vanatta, who is listing the development’s residential condominiums. Prudential Steamboat Realty plans to begin offering tours of the project to potential residents later this month. No contracts have been signed for The Victoria’s seven residential units, but Vanatta is hoping the tours will lure buyers. “We feel as it nears completion, and people see the beauty of the units, (sales) will pick up,” Vanatta said. “With The Victoria only having seven residential units, people are going to see a lot of opportunity in terms of privacy and the quality of the construction.” Floor plans start at one bedroom with just more than 1,000 square feet of living space, listed at $969,000, and work up to a 2,600-square-foot, three-bedroom home priced at more than $2 million. On the ground level, The Victoria’s corner anchor will be The Diplomat, a new high-end restaurant venture from Steamboat Yacht Club owners Morton and Ellen Hoj, scheduled to open in June.

In December, commercial real estate broker Hal Unruh of Prudential Steamboat Realty said two other commercial spaces were under contract, with a possibly divisible 2,600-square-foot space fronting Lincoln Avenue still available. Unruh could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Howelsen Place
With most commercial space at Howelsen Place already leased, and with letters of intent claiming the rest, tenants seeking to get in at the large development at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue are out of luck. “For all practical purposes, all commercial space is spoken for,” Cook said.Commercial tenants will begin finishing work on their spaces in August — if they work fast enough, they could be open in time for ski season, Cook said.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. will be the commercial anchor at Howelsen Place, bringing ticket sales, branded apparel and boot fitting to downtown. Vectra Bank and Vario of Steamboat Springs also will move into Howelsen Place from their existing downtown locations.
When complete, Howelsen Place will boast 35 residences in two buildings.
Remaining residential property at Howelsen Place starts at $999,999, Cashen said. The seven affordable housing units all are under contract. However, the project’s condominiums are by no means picked over — three of the four top-floor residences at Howelsen’s Building A along Yampa Street, boasting some of the best views in the project, still are available.
“Our final sales are going to be some of our best homes,” Cashen said.

The Olympian
Sales also are under way at The Olympian, under construction at Fifth and Yampa streets with the direction of developer Paul Franklin. The project will house three commercial tenants in 5,700 square feet of retail space. No tenants have been announced. Six of the developments’ 23 residential units are under contract, according to The Olympian’s Web site. Sales agents for the project could not be reached for comment. Remaining units start at $636,000, for a two-bedroom home with just more than 1,000 square feet of living space, with the priciest three-bedroom homes nearing $2 million for 2,000 square feet.

River Walk
Utility and infrastructure work are due to begin in the spring at River Walk, the largest of Colorado Group Realty’s downtown mixed-use projects. “What we’re really doing is creating a separate community over there,” Cook said. “That’s the project seemingly everyone wants to be in.” The current design of the project calls for 88 residences and 40,000 square feet of commercial space, including three or four restaurants. The plan is subject to change as Cook is in talks to bring in a hotel at the east end of the site along the Yampa River, which would reduce the number of condos at the project. The final design and composition of the River Walk project should be determined by February, he said. Sales and leasing are unlikely to begin until Alpenglow and Howelsen Place have been completed and fully sold, Cook said.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Who Buys Property in Steamboat?

According to County Mailing addresses for all the sales in the City of Steamboat Springs since the beginning of 2007 - September 2007, the majority of Buyers were from right here in Steamboat (503) and the next majority of Buyers were from Colorado (141), but outside of the City of Steamboat Springs.

The other major city Buyers are:
503 - Steamboat Residence
141 - Colorado
75 Washington, DC;
41 Texas;
36 California;
36 Florida;
26 Illinois;
19 Minnesota;
17 New York;
16 Arizona;
13 Wisconsin;
11 Missouri;
10 New Jersey.

Now keep in mind this is only for the City of Steamboat Springs. We have many other wonderful areas I can represent like Oak Creek, Hayden, Stagecoach, Clark, Hahns Peak, Steamboat Lake, Milner and more....

The bottom line is right now Steamboat Property is selling like crazy. Why? Several reason in my humble opinion, but look at our direct flights. It is easier to get here then almost any other major ski area in Colorado. The direct flights which run all winter to Hayden, which is a simple 30 minute drive, make us a very desirable destination ski location.

Baby Boomers and others are recognizing that our property values are still way below places like Vail, Telluride, and Aspen. We are pretty close in pricing to the Summit areas. Steamboat is a true Western town that takes much pride in our history and maintaining that dignity. When guests come to Steamboat they are welcomed, feel safe, and realize as my husband and I did 9 years ago, that this is the place to raise our kids. Where we live is more than just the house we purchased. It s a lifestyle. Steamboat places so much value in heritage that for Winter Carnival (February 6th - 1oth, 2008) we truck in snow and block off main street to pull kids on skis behind horses and men on shovels. We have a lot of fun here.

The Steamboat ski area was purchased by Intrawest (Fortress) in 2007. People asked what does that mean. A developer friend of mine explained it quite well when he said, "I'll tell you what that means, our houses just raised $100,000.00 in value." Intrawest is notorious for acquiring destination resorts, adding extensive projects that add value to the guests and locals ski experience, and brings in a lot of new development. That sure makes sense to me. We have many new projects in the downtown area, mountain area, and even West of town. Could it be a coincidence? Could be, but with the building that is going on now, I would venture to guess, prices are going to continue to rise for a couple of years. So I believe the purchase of the ski area has greatly added to the development of Steamboat and its potential growth and value. Of course I don't have a crystal ball, but land is getting scarce and people want to live close to the mountain and downtown. The once $200,000.00 places are now over $350,000.00. I have clients say, "I wish I would have bought here 5 years ago." I say buy now, so you are not with the people five years from now just moving to town who say, "I wish I would have bought five years ago". One thing that is going to benefit all of us who live here and you who are thinking about moving to town is the new City Council. There is a change that is happening that new growth and maintaining our cultural heritage are to be valued equally. The new council is on the right track for all of us.

So who buys property in Steamboat? People who want champagne powder, culture, the arts, great restaurants, schools of excellence, a western town, good neighbors, frequent fliers, families, singles and everyone in between. Anyone who wants a piece of the good life. I had sticker shock when I moved here too, but when we go to sell, we will be glad we bit the bullet and made the life change that has brought happiness to our family. I hope you throw caution to the wind ( or not - your financial advisor will probably say - BUY) to live your dream. Visit me on my web site at: I'm happy to help... Are you ready to live your dream?