Sunday, April 13, 2008

Creekview Townhomes & Plaza - New Development in Hayden

Creekview progressing
Fourteen residential, seven retail units to be available in Hayden
By Blythe Terrell - Reporter Steamboat Pilot & TODAY
Sunday, April 13, 2008

Creekview Townhomes and Plaza development in Hayden: Three-story, 1,720-square-foot townhomes are a mix of two- and three-bedroom units with attached one- or two-car garages.

Steamboat Springs — Fourteen new housing units are about to come on line in western Hayden.

Phase 1 of Creekview Townhomes and Plaza is nearly completed, developers Stefanus and Louis Nijsten said. That section of the project will include eight condos, seven retail units and six townhomes.

The residential units will be ready this summer, starting with the townhomes in June, Stefanus Nijsten said. The one- or two-bedroom condos, which cost $180,000 to $205,000, have been reserved. The three-bedroom townhomes will cost $310,000 to $320,000.

Prudential agent Annette Hall started takng reservations for the business sites last week. She is co-listing the units with Louis Nijsten.

Retail spaces range from 600 square feet to more than 1,500 square feet and will cost $120,000 to $300,000, Hall said. An appliance showroom is planned for one spot, and the Nijstens talked about a pharmacy and possibly a coffee shop.

“We want to see businesses that attract people,” Louis Nijsten said. “We want to have people come in and go out all day long.”

The brothers are partnering with Bob Zibell on the development. The project sits on 3.21 acres south of U.S. Highway 40, east of Dry Creek and west of an alley between Fifth and Sixth streets. The land includes the Creekview Grill, which the developers run.

They opened the restaurant in fall 2006 and often have worked there after a long day on the construction site, where they do much of the building.

“We were basically running the restaurant ourselves,” Stefanus Nijsten said.

“Every night, we’d wash up, get clean jeans on and come in.”

It was tough, Louis Nijsten said, but the brothers expressed an attitude of willingness to do what it took to serve Hayden.

“That’s the philosophy of this whole project,” Louis Nijsten said. “We’re trying to provide what the town needs.”

The brothers, who are from Holland, said they enjoy working in and with the town. Louis lives in Hayden, and Stefanus plans to move from his Steamboat Springs home into one of the six townhomes. Features of those units include a garage, two or 2 1/2 bathrooms, a patio, a second-floor deck and wiring for a multiroom sound system.

“I know for a fact they’re going to be very nice,” Stefanus Nijsten said.

The brothers wanted to encourage people to live and work in Hayden, so it was important for them to add residences and businesses, Stefanus Nijsten said.

“Usually, developers do one or the other,” he said. “And then either your tax base is too small to service the residences you create, or you create jobs you don’t have homes for.”

Zibell and the Nijstens are planning 10 more residences in two complexes on the west side of Sixth Street as part of the second phase. They said they hope to complete those this summer. That land also could include a motel on U.S. 40, the Nijstens said.

“What we always wanted was a motel,” Stefanus Nijsten said. “The town would like to see it, and this is a good location.”

They did not give details but said they were in talks with someone who would operate the motel. The pair initially considered building and running the motel themselves.

“But we have so many irons in the fire, we don’t need another operation to run, as well,” Stefanus Nijsten said.

The motel would be the final part of the Creekview development.

“That motel’s going to put a wrap on this whole project,” Stefanus Nijsten said.

The Nijstens said they have more land in Hayden and more ideas. Stefanus Nijsten said they are thinking about building affordable housing in Hayden.

In the meantime, though, they’re focusing on finishing the retail units and the 24 residences at Creekview. The town is ready for the services and housing, Stefanus Nijsten said.

“It just needs to happen,” he said, “and somebody needs to do the kickoff.”

To obtain information on any property in Hayden or Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates. I am happy to help...


Anglers will love Alpine River Ranch

Partnering in Alpine River Ranch
Local men create private fishing country club
By Tom Ross (Contact) - Reporter Steamboat Pilot & TODAY
Sunday, April 13, 2008

Steamboat Springs — The $19.4 million sale of the More Family Ranch on the Yampa River late last year has brought the equivalent of a trout fishing country club to Routt County.

“That’s pretty much the business model, it’s pretty much like a golf club,” Steamboat Springs businessman Jarett Duty said. “There will be nonequity members and annual dues.”

He and his brother, John, own Bucking Rainbow Outfitters, an Orvis-affiliated shop in Steamboat. They have become equity partners in the Alpine River Ranch fishing club with a Pennsylvania man, Donny Beavers. The three men solicited the investment of existing club members to become equity partners and facilitate the multi-million dollar purchase.

Bucking Rainbow remains an independent business owned by Jarett and John Duty.

As of March 15, even members of the public who have several hundred dollars to spend on a guided fishing trip no longer have access to Tailwaters Preserve. It’s open to club members only.

Take me to the river
Members at Tailwaters Preserve, part of Alpine River Ranch, will pay an initial fee of $85,000 and annual dues currently set at $7,700. The majority of the members also can be expected to pay for a fishing guide to accompany them and members of their family on angling outings. The Duty brothers say they can be expected to help keep members of Steamboat’s guiding profession well employed.

Beavers established Alpine River Ranch in the Vail Valley in 2007. He already had established the successful Spring Ridge Club near College Station, Pa., an area that contains his home waters.

Beavers also acquired the well-established, Vail-area guide service, Gorsuch Outfitters and six miles of private access trout streams last year. He began attracting founding members in the Alpine River Club from among Gorsuch clients.

Alpine River Club is a separate business from Spring Ridge Club, John Duty said. But members of both clubs will enjoy reciprocal access. A 2004 article in The New York Times described members of Spring Ridge Club who value it because it is only a four-hour drive from Manhattan.

Steamboat fly shops have been sending guides and clients to the trout-rich waters below Lake Catamount on the More Family Ranch for years under the terms of a lease. Naturally reproducing trout there put on pounds year-round because the water coming out of Stagecoach Dam is cold enough in summer, and warm enough in winter, to spur metabolism of the fish.

Ski vacationers frequently have mixed in a day of guided fishing on the More Ranch and left with pictures of themselves holding a trophy that was promptly returned to the water.

The 1.75 miles of the Yampa on the ranch produced an 11-pound rainbow this past winter, and 26-inch fish are not rare.

“John and I think it’s one of the top five fishing destinations in the states,” Jarett said. “And it’s just seven miles from a major ski area.”

There is natural reproduction of rainbow trout in the river, Duty said. Other fish migrate to the rich feeding grounds below the dam in winter. They do not plant trophy trout in the river, he said.

“We don’t stock trout there, and we will never stock trout there,” Duty said.

When they learned that Beavers was looking at purchasing More Family Ranch, they approached him about joining the club for their own use.

Instead, the men became partners.

“The idea is to preserve these fishing waters. We typically don’t want to develop,” the land, John said.

However, the brothers said they can’t rule out a limited housing development on the preserve in the future to help offset the purchase price.

Floaters welcome
They also are actively pursuing land purchases or long-term leases that would bring more miles of streams and rivers into Alpine River Ranch. But they’re trying to do that with an eye to balance their own need for private water on which to guide private clients of their own, as well as the needs of the other fly shops.

“The ranchers who previously) said ‘never’ are opening their minds to the idea of leasing to a single club on a long-term basis,” Jarett said. “We added two significant pieces, two seven-mile stretches in the last month that are within an hour of town. But we’re trying to be very careful about stepping on toes and other peoples’ leases.”

Beavers was embroiled in a controversy in Pen­nsylvania when he sought to bar public boaters from a stretch of the Little Juniata River that runs through club property. He was unsuccessful in that effort.

John Duty, who has spoken out about protecting the right of commercial floaters to use rivers in Routt County, said they told their new partner they were on opposite sides of the debate and would not be a party to barring floaters from rivers here.

Beavers has engaged his club members in Pennsylvania in stream conservation, and the Duty brothers say that will be a big part of the Alpine River Ranch’s efforts here. They also intend to contract for hay production on the ranch.

As Beavers has done in Pennsylvania at the Spring Ridge Club, the Duty brothers said they look forward to a couple of occasions annually when local anglers will be invited to put their names in a hat for some fishing access at Tailwaters Preserve. Beyond that, membership in the club is the only option.

The brothers intend to join Beavers in expanding the model of Alpine River Ranch across the Rocky Mountain West to destinations such as Telluride and Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Steamboat Springs Locals Still Skiing & Riding After Mountain Closes

Crowds flock to Buffalo Pass for skiing, riding
By Joel Reichenberger - Reporter Steambooat PILOT & TODAY
Sunday, April 13, 2008

A skier pulls his snowboarding friend from the parking lot near Buffalo Pass on Saturday morning. The pass, known for its backcountry skiing, was overflowing thanks to Steamboat Ski Area closing last weekend and a fresh dose of snow that arrived Friday. Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Steamboat Springs — The road to Buffalo Pass grows increasingly treacherous, with dry pavement giving way to soggy gravel and finally a thick gleaming coat of Routt County snow.

The still-massive snow banks on either side of the road grow ever higher and hug the path increasingly tighter, until there’s just one lane cut through the forest, ascending the mountain. Travel long enough, and the road goes no further, the county plows having given up a few dozen yards past an open parking lot.

It’s a fine place for a secret. Steamboat Springs itself is 15 minutes in the rearview mirror and still-healthy pine trees shield everything, even blotting out the sun on an otherwise bright morning.

The pass, the jumping off point for some of the best backcountry skiing in Northern Colorado, is a secret, at least according to its biggest fans.

“Write that we showed up at 6 a.m. for the best snow, and we’ll slit your throat,” one enthusiast warned moments after popping over a hill on a snowmobile, a trio of snowboarders riding behind hanging to a rope.

A wide grin gave away the joke. Or was that a sneer?

Buffalo Pass is located north of Steamboat up Routt County Road 36, then a few miles east on C.R. 38. It’s about as well kept a secret as the location of Old Town Pub & Restaurant. Neither appears on Google Maps, but everyone in town knows how to get there.

Truck after truck rolled up toward the pass early Saturday morning. The small parking lot quickly overflowed, and vehicles and trailers lined up bumper-to-bumper for 300 yards back toward town. Tailgates fell open, and snowmobiles slid onto the packed snow.

Longtime fans say the once-tranquil Buffalo Pass is always a zoo these days. The conditions Saturday had the animals stampeding. The Steamboat Ski Area flipped the switch on its lifts last weekend, and the nearest resort mountain was hours away. Mother Nature apparently missed the message, dumping nearly a foot of snow on the town Friday. The load was even greater at the pass, 1,500 feet of elevation higher.

It was too much for many residents to bear. Snowmobilers swarmed for the opportunity to cut up new powder. The parking lots and road shoulders became impromptu service centers, launching pads for backcountry expeditions.

So maybe Buff Pass isn’t a secret. Still, few who geared up for a day of skiing and riding in the unpatrolled wilderness did so without at least a little something they liked to keep to themselves.

“We didn’t leave last night until 9 p.m.,” Aryeh Copa said. “It was belly-button deep in places.”

Come early, come late
That’s Copa’s secret — he comes after the crowd. He packs a camera, a set of skis and a couple friends on their own machines, sets out after work to soak up the remaining rays and looks for spectacular sunset photos.

Others take a different approach. Skiers and riders began loading up at 5:30 a.m. Rick Ostrom headed up with Gary Osteen and other friends to beat the crowd and already was going home while a dozen sleds were gearing up for the first circuit of the day.

“It’s worth it,” Osteen said. “Light, deep and untracked — this is as good as it gets. We’re in the middle of April, and this is as good as it gets.”

There’s a danger involved that’s not as prevalent on the groomed runs accessed by the Thunderhead chairlift. Tom Whiddon and Tom Heilner, loading their skis into a metal rack on the back of their snowmobiles, said it’s imperative to pack enough to stay the night, just in case.

It’s the wide-open acres that keep them coming back — and have led them to all but abandon the ski mountain, open or closed.

There’s so much space, in fact, that maybe there still are a few secrets left in the powder pass, hidden in plain sight 1,500 feet above Steamboat Springs.

“Today is a special occasion,” snowmobiler Ren Martyn said, waiting as some friends unloaded their own machines. “With the mountain closed and all the snow, everyone’s out. We also ride up north, near Hahn’s Peak, but there’s so much acreage up here.

“Everyone has their sweet and hidden spots. It’s still phenomenal riding.”

—­ To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253

or e-mail

Saturday, April 12, 2008

High Density Development in Durango Similar to Steamboat 700

Stretching the map
Durango extends city limits for high-density development
By Brandon Gee (Contact) - Reporter Steamboat Pilot & Today
Sunday, April 20, 2008

Steamboat Springs — Tim Zink will be the first to tell you: If you moved to Colorado for a five-acre lawn, Three Springs is not for you.

Zink is general manager of the 681-acre Durango development, which is being built under urban design principles commonly referred to as new urbanism, traditional neighborhood design or transit-oriented development. As a response to suburban sprawl, new urbanist neighborhoods are designed to be dense and pedestrian-friendly. They typically contain commercial districts, parks and other features that reduce the need for off-site automobile trips.

Traditional neighborhood design was a condition of Durango’s annexation of the Three Springs parcel southeast of the city. The city of Steamboat Springs expects the same design principles out of Steamboat 700, a 700-acre parcel west of city limits that has been planned for future growth but must first be annexed into city limits.

As Steamboat city officials address the challenges and opportunities presented by the potential annexation, municipalities across Colorado are tackling very similar issues. Minturn residents will vote May 20 on a proposed, 5,300-acre project on Battle Mountain. Smaller communities such as Hayden and Granby also are facing annexation issues.
The Three Springs development, which is nearly identical to Steamboat 700 in size and proposed uses, was annexed into Durango in 2004 and is beginning to take shape.
Urban design “It provides a character that this community finds attractive,” Steamboat Springs Planning Services Manager John Eastman said of traditional neighborhood design, comparing it to Old Town. “It’s a human-based character rather than an automobile-based character. … It incorporates the needs of a human without forcing them to get into an automobile. You can address a large portion of your daily needs as a pedestrian or a cyclist.”

Danny Mulcahy said if you accept two principles — one, that Steamboat is going to generate the need for 2,000 or 3,000 more homes in coming years, and two, that residents don’t like traffic — “then the best option is to plan west Steamboat as densely as possible so we’re not having this same conversation in 10 years.” “Transit goals won’t be met until there’s a critical mass of people out there to make it happen,” said Mulcahy, project manager for Steamboat 700.

Durango senior planner Tim McHarg, a former assistant planning director in
Steamboat, said Three Springs is unique because it is delivering many of the benefits of traditional neighborhood design up front. The annexation was tied to the construction of a new hospital, which is already open and providing an enormous employment base for the development. Additionally, the development’s main commercial district has already been built because the development’s owner, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, needed office space for itself and subsidiary companies.

“It’s good for the city, in the sense that it creates some critical mass out there,” McHarg said. “There’s some ‘there’ there. … Most traditional neighborhood developments really struggle to get that component up front.”

Eastman said Steamboat 700 likely will be built in the traditional manner, which he said is fine with the city since it is encouraging residential development to address its need for affordable housing. “That’s OK because our transportation issues really kick in to high gear when there’s a couple hundred homes out there, not a couple dozen,” Eastman said. “That’s not to say we’re not worried about the fiscal impacts of the proposal. We are looking at ways to at least be revenue-neutral. We’re not looking at it to be a revenue generator.”

Keen on green
Another customary component of traditional neighborhood design is sustainability.
Three Springs already has two commercial buildings that are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED, and its homes are being built to Green Built Colorado standards.
“We want a sustainable urban fabric,” McHarg said. “Sustain­ability is a major, major component of what everyone is doing. If you don’t get that piece right, you’re completely throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

Eastman said Steamboat 700 has committed to sustainability efforts. A Steamboat 700 planning document shows compliance with a LEED pilot program for neighborhood development. Mulcahy has said a sustainability master plan is forthcoming.

Money under the dirt
From a conference room in Three Springs’ commercial core, the Mercado District, Zink looked out a window at graded but undeveloped land and described the past six-plus years.
“We basically had to prove our case that this was going to be a good thing for the city of Durango,” Zink said April 10. But that part of the process only takes Three Springs to 2004, when the Durango City Council approved its annexation and conceptual development plan. In the four years since, a lot of work has taken place, but it has only been in the last few months that Three Springs’ first residents have moved in.

“It took us a long time to get gas, water and other improvements installed,” Zink said, motioning toward the window. “You don’t understand the amount of money that’s underneath this dirt.”
Durango planning officials said the infrastructure process could have taken longer.
“In retrospect, I would have liked to lengthen the process out further,” said Greg Hoch, Durango’s planning director. “If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would.”
Hoch said he was under heavy political pressure from the Durango City Council and others to get the annexation done, primarily because of the hospital.
“It probably wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it appeared to have been if not for the fact that it had a hospital,” Hoch said. “There was political pressure to recognize the importance of health care in our community and to help make this annexation happen. It was pretty clear to me that City Council wanted us to make this happen. I think the council certainly thought it was in the city’s best interests to effect this annexation.”
Other public benefits brought by Three Springs include the dedication of land for city parks and two schools, fire and police stations, a child care center and affordable housing.

Bargaining chips
Affordable housing has been cited as the primary reason for Steamboat Springs to annex Steamboat 700. Mulcahy has said he also will provide about 200 acres of open space and more than 10 miles of trails.
Mulcahy and Eastman said they have been in discussions with the Steamboat Springs School District about the project’s possible incorporation of a school. The district currently owns 35 acres adjacent to Steamboat 700. Eastman said the city would not its need for affordable housing be a pressure to approve the annexation quickly. “The city’s position has been, while we recognize the need for affordable housing, we have to take the time necessary to make sure the existing residents of Steamboat Springs are not inappropriately burdened,” he said.

Hoch’s advice to Steamboat officials is to “pay a lot of attention, slow it down, make sure you know all of your answers.” Once a city approves an annexation, it loses the biggest bargaining chip there is in negotiating with developers, Hoch and McHarg said. “What an annexation does is it allows a municipality to say ‘no’ for whatever reason,” Hoch said. “You can say ‘no’ to an annexation and not be subject to any lawsuit. A city can deny an annexation for any reason whatsoever.” In Durango, Hoch, the director of public works, the city attorney and a contracted consultant attorney were responsible for negotiating the Three Springs annexation.
“In retrospect, it definitely would have benefited the project as well as the process to have the city manager sit in,” Hoch said. “But our City Manager didn’t want to do it, and we let him know how often he should have been there after that meeting.”

Steamboat also has retained a consultant attorney who specializes in annexation. City Manager Alan Lanning scoffed at the notion that he wouldn’t be a part of the negotiation team.
Eastman said the ultimate decision about whether to annex Steamboat 700 will come down to one sentence in the city’s Community Development Code: “Taken as a whole, the advantages of the proposed annexation substantially outweigh the disadvantages to the community and neighboring land occasioned by the annexation.”
“We’ll accommodate growth if it’s done appropriately and it achieves the goatl of the community,” Eastman said. “It has to pass the test.”


To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates. I am happy to help...


Elk River Village - Housing Project Information

Affordable housing on the horizon
Housing Authority seeks approval for 34 deed-restricted units
By Tom Ross (Contact) - Steamboat TODAY Daily Newspaper
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Steamboat Springs — The Yampa Valley Housing Authority goes to the city tonight to seek approval for plans to add at least 34 deed-restricted affordable housing units west of downtown Steamboat Springs.

Elk River Village would be built on a 10.76-acre site along Routt County Road 129, just a few hundred feet from its intersection with U.S. Highway 40.

Housing Authority Assistant Director Curtis Church said he hopes the manufactured housing will be available for purchase in summer 2009.

“I would think we’d have product available next spring,” Church said. “We hope to begin working on (utilities) late this summer or early fall and order the structures next winter.”

Church estimated the cost of the project between $18 million and $20 million.

A similar project was proposed in 2005 by a private sector developer. The Housing Authority purchased the site in 2005 for about $2 million.

The Housing Authority is seeking to build 54 multifamily condominiums spread across four 12-unit buildings and one six-unit building. In addition, it would develop 13 single-family lots for 900-square-foot homes. Purchasers of single-family homes would have the option of adding decks, car ports and second levels.

The number of deed-restricted affordable units could depend upon how successful the Housing Authority is in putting together a package of creative financing for the project.

The completed Fox Creek Village affordable project on Hilltop Parkway utilized grants and down payment buy-downs from state and federal sources.

“It’s still a goal of ours to make all off them deed restricted, but it really depends on financing and construction costs,” Church said.

Including a mix of market rate housing units could help subsidize the affordable units.

Senior City Planner Bob Keen­­­an said the land for Elk River Village is zoned for commercial uses, and creating housing there requires the developers to show substantial public benefit. He will suggest to the Planning Commission tonight that the combination of 6 acres of open space and the minimum 34 deed-restricted units satisfy that requirement.

Keenan also might make the case that the housing project creates a desirable mix of uses in an area that is predominantly light industrial and commercial.

“It actually meets a couple of the goals of the Steamboat Springs Area Plan,” he said. “It’s within walking distance of bus stops and a large number of employers in the area.”

Keenan will ask the Planning Commission to discuss whether the affordable housing proposal goes far enough to ensure housing for people at the low end of the economic spectrum (80 percent of the median income). He’s also concerned whether the architecture of the multifamily buildings is too repetitive.

The city also might press the Housing Authority to build a fence to act as a buffer between the homes and a new sidewalk along C.R. 129. It would help mitigate a necessary building setback variance, Keenan said.

“The applicant has proposed the multifamily buildings to be as close to the property line as 6.5 feet,” Keenan wrote in a memo to the Planning Commission. We “have suggested a split-rail fence between the sidewalk and these buildings as a buffer. The applicant has not included a fence, citing cost as an issue.”


To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates. I am happy to help...


Elk River Village - Newest Development Approved

Housing project gets nod
Planning Commission approves Elk River Village
By Tom Ross (Contact)- Steamboat TODAY Article
Friday, April 11, 2008

Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission voted, 4-1, Thursday night to recommend approval of Elk River Village.

The proposed housing development on the city’s near west side would include at least 34 deed-restricted affordable housing units.

The recommendation for approval came in spite of the fact that several of the commissioners voting to approve expressed reservations about the difficulty of pedestrian, bicycle and mass transit connections to the site on the north side of U.S. Highway 40.

“I’m terribly concerned about safety and where kids play,” Commissioner Tom Ernst said.

The project would be built on 10 acres off Elk River Road, a short distance from the intersection with U.S. 40. The developer is the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

The Housing Authority is seeking to build 54 multi-family condominiums spread across four 12-unit buildings and one six-unit building. In addition, it would develop 13 single-family lots for 900-square-foot, single-family homes.

Commissioner Brian Hanlen moved to approve Elk River Village and Ernst seconded the motion. Commissioner Cedar Beauregard cast the one dissenting vote, and Commission Chairwoman Kathi Meyer stepped down because she is a member of the Housing Aut­hority board.

Beauregard based his opposition on his belief that a development comprised entirely of residential units did not meet the intent of the commercial zone district. He said zoning near Copper Ridge Business Park calls for vertical mixed-use developments with housing above commercial units.

Senior City Planner Bob Keenan said staff based its recommendation for approval on a finding that the large number of affordable units, and other qualities, provide significant public benefit.

Both Hanlen and Ernst said they found enough merit to approve the project in spite of their concerns about safety and access.

Hanlen said the fact that the site is surrounded by commercial and light industrial uses makes it somewhat inappropriate for a housing development. He is concerned that the only play area in the site plan would not be an alternative for older children.

“I think the isolation will be a hardship on residents,” he said.

“It’s not pedestrian-friendly at all,” Commissioner Sarah Fox added.

“That’s a good point,” Ernst said. “There are going to be 150 people living there.”

Vice Chairwoman Karen Dixon suggested her fellow commissioners were underestimating the use older children would make of the project’s internal loop road for playing Frisbee and other games in the street, just as children do in her Old Town neighborhood.

Assistant Planning Director John Eastman said that during a recent scoping session including city and Colorado Department of Transportation officials, the entire U.S. 40 corridor from 13th Street to Elk River Road had been identified as a pedestrian district that needs improvement.

“Improving it is a high priority for the city,” Eastman said. However, he added that construction of those improvements is probably at least four years in the future.

Housing Authority Exec­utive Director Donna Howell reminded the commission that land costs, the cost of building infrastructure and even the cost of money are all factors that present increasing challenges in her organization’s mission to maximizing affordable housing units in its projects.

“Every decision we make that affects these costs ultimately determines how many affordable housing units we can provide,” Howell said.

Housing Authority Assis­tant Director Curtis Church said they also take care about how many amenities they build into affordable projects because, throughout time, the maintenance of amenities such as barbecue areas affect the long-term affordability of the homes. He pointed out that the Yampa River Core Trail, less than a mile away via Curve Plaza on the south side of the highway, represents good connections to the city’s network of pedestrian and bicycle paths.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail


To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates. I am happy to help...


Base Area Promenade Ideas Discussed

Steamboat TODAY article
Promenade ideas discussed
Base area committee considers shorter public walkway
Saturday, April 12, 2008

An interactive 3-D computer model now is being used to evaluate development proposals and city redevelopment plans at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area. The city-funded model will be presented to the public at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Centennial Hall.

A planned promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area may have a more limited scope than previously considered. At a meeting Friday, the city’s advisory committee for base area redevelopment debated the promenade it hopes to start building as early as next summer.

Prior to the meeting, the committee asked redevelopment coordinator Joe Kracum and design firm Wenk Associates to consider designing the 20-foot-wide promenade along the immediate ski base from Christie Club on the north to the Edgemont project under construction on the south.

But by the end of Friday’s meeting, difficulties such as ski easements and steep grades had the committee leaning toward a promenade that doesn’t go as far uphill. Committee members discussed a major promenade extending around the ski base only from the Thunderhead Lodge to the Ptarmigan Inn, both of which are slated for redevelopment. A smaller version of the promenade — more like a typical sidewalk and what committee members referred to as the “little p” promenade — would be used to make further residential connections to base area properties and possibly be located on the interior of those sites rather than the immediate ski base.

Jim Schneider, vice president of skier services for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., spoke in favor of a promenade that respects existing ski easements and “fans out” away from the immediate ski edge sooner rather than later.

“We’ve got to get away from the idea that it needs to be right on the ski edge, straight up both sides,” Schneider said. “We’ve already got the smallest snow edge in the industry.”

Jack Ferguson, owner of the Mount Werner Lodge, was concerned that tourists and even residents might be confused by interior walkways.

“To the extent we can keep it near the toe of the ski area, the better off we’re going to be,” he said.

Noting the distance, David Baldinger Jr. of Steamboat Vill­age Brokers spoke in favor of the shortened promenade.

“I don’t think anyone would argue that Edgemont should be strongly connected to the base area in a pedestrian way,” Baldinger said. “But you’re starting to get beyond a nice little stroll.”

After Friday’s meeting, Baldinger noted that city code already requires pedestrian connections. He said he envisions “spider webs” — in the form of sidewalks — “running like crazy” throughout the base area and making strong connections to the promenade, wherever its ends are cut off.

Friday’s discussion was largely conceptual in nature; the committee took no formal action. Wenk Associates and Kracum will return to the committee in a month with a promenade master plan. The committee, known as the Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee, makes recommendations to the Steamboat Springs City Coun­cil on projects within the city’s urban renewal authority. The URA issues bonds to fund improvements and, within its base area boundaries, collects property and sales taxes above a base amount to repay its bonds.

To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates. I am happy to help...


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Highmark: $1.5 Million - $2.3 Million

A new day at Highmark?
High-end boutique hotel appears to be back on track
By Tom Ross - Reporter Steamboat Pilot
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Steamboat Springs — The Highmark Resort at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area appears to be back on track.

Recent developments include the listing of a dozen “condo-tel” units for $1.5 million to $2.3 million, the signing of a major luxury hotel management company and the settlement of a breach of contract suit involving seven of the units.

Construction on the six-story building at the corner of Apr├Ęs Ski Way and Village Drive began in 2004, and although it is complete, it has never been occupied.

Pam Vanatta of Prudential Steamboat Realty has listed the condominiums for sale and confirms that the plan is to offer a high-end boutique hotel opening in June. She said the intent of developers Steamboat Ventures Ltd. is to offer a hotel property that is unlike anything else available in Steamboat.

“The developer wants to make the Highmark Resort a high-end boutique hotel,” Vanatta said. “It’s going to be a first for Steamboat.”

Vanatta said Crescent Hotels and Resorts will manage the property.

“They will have management on site,” she added. “The level of service will far exceed” anything currently offered in the market.

Crescent features a photograph of Highmark Resort prominently on its Web site. The company has business relationships with Wyndham, Marriott, Starwood, Hilton and Radisson as well as with independents such as The Opal in San Francisco and the Georgian Terrace in Atlanta.

Buyers will be able to use the units for two weeks in the winter and two weeks in the summer, then on a space-available basis, Vanatta said. However, the units are being offered as whole ownership purchases, not interval purchases.

Buyers will also benefit from a guaranteed rental program, Vanatta said.

“It’s been done in other places, but it’s very new to Steamboat,” she said. “It’s very boutique-y.”

All of the units have been redecorated and furnished.

The property will offer a pool and a large living room for entertaining and a gourmet grocer.

Longtime Steamboat business people Bill and Kay Stuart have long planned to move Market on the Mountain across the street to the first level of Highmark Resort.

They confirmed this week they are looking ahead to making the move this summer.

“The plan is for us to take ownership toward the end of April and begin the tenant finish, putting us in there this summer,” Bill Stuart said.

Stuart said he and his wife toured the decorated units and were impressed.

“We were very pleased with the high level of the finish and furnishings,” he said.

A breach of contract suit filed last year by Steamboat Ventures against seven contracted condo buyers who never closed on their purchases was settled early this week, according to documents on file in Routt County District Court.

A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., business entity, The Formula, stepped in as settling buyer and took a joint venture interest in all seven units with the contracted buyers. Steamboat Ventures agreed to return the earnest money committed by the buyers (in the range of $150,000), with interest. The Formula will receive a fee at such time as the seven units are resold.

To learn more about Highmark or other Steamboat Properties contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate with Century 21 Ski Town Associates at (970)846-1086 or e-mail

Steamboat Ski Area - 2008-2009 Season Pass Prices

Intrawest unveils new season pass prices
Unlimited skiing at Steamboat will cost $30 more next season
By Brent Boyer - Reporter Steamboat Pilot
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Steamboat Springs — A season pass to the Steamboat Ski Area will cost $979 for the 2008-09 winter, an increase of $30 from this year’s price. Pass holders also will have to pay $75 if they want to add unlimited skiing to Winter Park and Copper. The add-on cost was $50 for the 2007-08 season.

Intrawest announced Thursday afternoon the pricing for a variety of ski passes to its ski resorts in Steamboat, Winter Park and Copper Mountain. Not all passes saw an increase in prices. Intrawest lowered the cost of the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus from $479 this season to $439 next season. The Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus provides unlimited skiing at Winter Park and Copper as well as six unrestricted days at Steamboat.

A season pass to Copper will cost $349 — the same as this season, and a season pass to Winter Park will cost $359 — an increase of $10 over this season’s price.

“Each year, more and more of our resort guests tell us that in addition to the best pass prices and access to the best terrain, they are looking to share genuine Colorado ski experiences with family and friends,” Intrawest executive Andy Wirth said in a statement. Wirth is executive vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer for Intrawest.

“Our flexible pass options, especially the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus where the price has dropped $40 from last season alone, provide an economical way for skiers, snowboarders and families to visit Winter Park, Copper and Steamboat to experience some of the best terrain that Colorado has to offer.”

Intrawest is again offering Steamboat Super Value Passes. A 20-day pass is $799, a 15-day pass is $679, and a 10-day pass is $519.

Also similar to this season, skiers and riders who purchase a full Steamboat ski pass will receive one free season pass for a child 12 or younger.

Steamboat season passes must be purchased or renewed by logging on to or calling (877) 237-2628.

Condo Proposed for Burgess Creek Road

Condo proposed for Burgess Creek Road
Development group poses 11-story Steamboat Highlands
By Tom Ross - Reporter Steamboat Pilot
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Steamboat Springs — A development group based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is proposing an 11-story condominium hotel on Burgess Creek Road immediately north of the existing Kutuk and Bronze Tree projects.

Brian Bavosi, project manager for Vertical Arts in Steamboat Springs, said that when Steamboat Highlands enters the public hearing process, the name of an international five-star hotel management company associated with the project is likely to become public.

The owner of the development is Gamir/Reilly Development, a privately held real estate development and management company that has built hotels and condominium projects at a number of vacation destinations in Mexico. They include Pueblito Escondito and Aldea Thai in Playa del Carmen.

Steamboat Highlands would be built on 2.11 acres comprising an elongated triangular strip bounded by Burgess Creek Road and Storm Meadows Drive. Burgess Creek runs through the property.

Jeff and Kristi Brown of Steamboat Springs sold the site to Henderson, Nev.-based Ski Country LLC for $11.5 million in November 2007.

Development plans on the site call for demolishing the 1970s era Ski Country Building.

The completed project would include 214,268 square feet of residential space and 9,500 square feet of commercial space. Conceptual drawings show a ballroom, spa and food service areas.

At the tallest peak of the roof of one penthouse suite, the building would measure almost 137 feet, well in excess of the allowable height limit of 63 feet in the zone district.

The developers acknowledge that they need a variance for the height of the building.

Among the interesting proposals in the plan is a pedestrian bridge over Burgess Creek Road, which would provide the first viable link for foot traffic to and from The Ranch development to the north.

City Planner Jason Peasley said challenges to the project include ensuring the structure addresses Burgess Creek in a desirable way and getting sufficient water pressure to the upper stories. Pluses include a plan to daylight the creek where it currently flows through a culvert in a parking lot.

Bavosi said the developers see an opportunity to build improved pedestrian trails linking the project directly to the ski area base.

Peasley agreed the project holds the potential to create the kind of pedestrian access called for in the redevelopment of the base area.

“This site has very good connectivity to Ski Time Square and with the right improvements, it could make a very good pedestrian environment,” Peasley said.

Peasley said the Steamboat Highlands developers have asked for a pre-application review of the project intended to give them feedback before they seek a development permit. No public hearings have been scheduled.

Bavosi added that the development team is in the process of determining how many residential units the building might include.

To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates. WEB: E-MAIL: CELL:(970)846-1086.

Aspens at Walton Creek - $599,000 - $615,000

Aspens at Walton Creek attract locals
By Tom Ross (Contact)- Reporter Steamboat Pilot
Sunday, April 6, 2008

Steamboat Springs — The development team for The Aspens at Walton Creek envisioned a neighborhood of townhomes that would appeal to local buyers, and to date, that seems to be the market.

“So far, all of our buyers have been local residents, and all of them have been in their 30s and 40s,” sales consultant Shawn Donnelly said. “We have five first-time homebuyers.”

The 28 townhomes are on Aspen Leaf Way off Walton Creek Road, not far from its intersection with U.S. Highway 40.

Partners in The Aspens are John Taylor, Tony Cacioppo and Scott Lucas. The construction project manager is Todd Pansius.

Donnelly said five of the 10 units in Phases 1 and 2 have closed, with two more scheduled to close in the near future. Five more units of the total 28 are under contract, with three for sale at $599,000 and one at $615,000.

Some of the closings filed by Routt County earlier this winter for early buyers at The Aspens at Walton Creek confirm purchase prices of $475,000.

In addition to the three-story townhomes, there are two accessible units with deed-restricted affordable units above them. The developers included the affordable units before there were any city mandates to do so.

Cacioppo said though he looks forward to selling some of the three-story townhomes to vacation homebuyers, he finds it particularly rewarding that the homes have found a market with Steamboat Springs residents.

“This is something I’m proud of because all of the developers made a commitment to providing housing for locals,” he said. “We built these townhomes as if we were planning on living here. Some of our friends bought here. Cost doesn’t override quality.”

The 1,521-square-foot townhomes are on three levels including a garden level with full-sized windows. They are partially manufactured homes, with many custom interior finishes. They offer decks and single-car garages with ceilings that are high enough to offer storage potential.

“Tony tried to use the space most efficiently and bring in really nice finishes to offset the size,” Donnelly said.

The units feature real stone facing on the corners of the garage and the fireplace, wooden garage doors, a snowmelt system in the driveway and sidewalk that can be turned on and off, and solid red oak flooring that was finished on site.

The open timber-tread staircase is flanked by wrought iron balusters. There are tongue-and-groove paneled ceilings, and several of the ceilings are vaulted.

Cacioppo said one of his goals was to design a project that would have green qualities while rewarding its residents with low energy and carrying costs.

“I think part of the new green is a smaller footprint and efficient use of space,” he said.

To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates. WEB: E-MAIL: CELL:(970)846-1086.

Developments: The Range & Edgemenot

On the Market for April 6
By Tom Ross (Contact) - Reporter Steamboat Pilot
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Tom Ross' On the Market column appears Sundays in the Real Estate section of the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Steamboat Springs architect Michael Olsen confirms his office is actively working on six new homes tentatively planned for The Range single-family subdivision in Wildhorse Meadows, near the base of the ski area.

“Every house looks completely different from the others,” Olsen said.

Of the six, one has successfully completed the design review process required by developers Resort Ventures West. However, Olsen anticipates another home could be the first to begin construction — possibly in June.

Resort Ventures West Vice President Brent Pearson said he is aware of five other lot owners who are working with different architects but have not yet submitted their plans. He said he anticipates between six and 10 construction starts this summer.

Olsen said he’s not certain just how he wound up with a half-dozen projects in the new subdivision — they all come from different sources, he said.

Edgemont accepting reservations

The developers of Edgemont, a new slopeside residential project, have begun taking “exclusive priority reservations” for 42 one- to five-bedroom units being released this season.

Construction of the first phase of the luxury condominium buildings is set to begin this summer. Completion of the first release is anticipated during the 2009-10 ski season. Prices begin in the $800,000 range and increase to more than $2.5 million.

An exclusive priority reservation does not obligate buyers to purchase, Director of Sales Mark Murrell said. But, it gives them the opportunity to purchase during a one-day selection event early this summer.

“It is important to get involved now in order to be in the best position to select your residence in Edgemont,” Murrell said.

To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates.

Barn Village

Activity recommences at Barn Village at Steamboat
New subdivision sees 34 lots return to the market; 17 set to close in mid-April
By Tom Ross - Reporter for Steamboat Pilot
Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wittemyer, a Realtor with Prudential Steamboat Real Estate, said developers Bob Comes, Jim Kelly and Eric McAfee expect construction on utilities to resume as soon as the site off Pine Grove Road is dry enough to allow work.

The real estate market in Steamboat Springs has quieted since the residential subdivision saw prospective buyers plunk down refundable deposits on more than $36 million in real estate — in less than 24 hours — during Labor Day weekend in 2007. Since then, the number of reservations has been reduced to 17 of the total 54 lots in the first release.

Wittemyer said the local market began to slow down soon after the reservation event and the trend continued through January 2008. The withdrawn reservations represent a culling of people who weren’t ready to build or own for the long term, he said.

The anticipated conversion rate of nearly 30 percent, when the 17 lots close during the middle of April, is considered desirable for a new subdivision where the lots aren’t yet ready to build, he said.

Wittemyer said the one-day reservation process last September was noteworthy.

“We saw 53 of them reserved in one afternoon and by the next day, there were two deep on most of the lots and three deep on some of them,” he said.

The firm contract process began in late November and continued into December, Wittemyer said. It became clear that not everyone who reserved a lot was prepared to go to contract.

“The people who pulled out were speculators,” he said. “Their approach was, ‘Can I buy this and flip it shortly after I close?’ It’s a mindset. You don’t see many people doing that right now.”

The 17 buyers who are on schedule to close next month are people who have a long-term plan to live there as well as a number of homebuilders, Wittemyer said.

Wittemyer’s colleague, Pam Vanatta, said the evolution of the contract process at the subdivision has been healthy.

“It’s important for the general public to realize that the developers intend for that to be a great neighborhood for the long term,” Vanatta said. “Building on the lots and building right is what creates value.”

The project is a rarity for single-family subdivisions here, because it will include a 4.5-acre city park surrounding the historic More Barn, an exercise facility with a pool and no through streets within the subdivision, Vanatta added.

The subdivision approval allows primarily three types of housing. There are 12 duplex lots, 34 small lots for single-family homes in a neo-traditional neighborhood with back-loaded garages, and larger lots for larger single-family homes. The neo-traditional lots, measuring between 0.14 and 0.21 acres, sold for between $451,000 and $575,000, Wittemyer said.

The duplex lots were the most expensive in the subdivision, beginning with one lot priced at $995,000 and continuing in small increments up to $1.15 million.

Wittemyer said the developers are contemplating price increases following the closing of the initial 17 sales.

“Bob (Comes) wants to reward the buyers who were first in,” he said.

To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs with Buyer Representation, contact Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21 Ski Town Associates.