Tuesday, January 29, 2008

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.