River Walk set for infrastructure work
By Tom Ross (Contact)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Steamboat Springs — The first signs of construction soon will appear at the River Walk site on the east end of Yampa Street. But it shouldn’t be mistaken for a full launch of the mixed residential commercial project that could bring a new boutique hotel to downtown Steamboat Springs.
“We’ll be doing about $3 million in infrastructure work this fall including utilities and moving the Spring Creek drainage,” developer Jim Cook said.
He is one of the owners of Colorado Group Realty and Steamboat spokesman for Green Courte Partners. It is a Chicago-area development group also tackling the Alpen Glow and Howelsen Place projects nearing completion farther west of Yampa Street.
River Walk, when all of the phases are complete, would comprise 72 residential units, 11 affordable housing units and 32,000 square feet of commercial space along 760 linear feet of the Yampa River.
The project would daylight a section of Spring Creek where it currently drops down to its confluence with the Yampa in a culvert roughly under Fourth Street. Plans call for public gathering spaces along the creek.
Green Courte holds a development permit from the city of Steamboat Springs, but it still must clear a hurdle in the city planning process.
Senior Planner Jonathan Spence confirmed Thursday that Cook and Green Courte have yet to go through the design review that would result in a final development process. The development permit represents approval of Green Courte’s building layout and the mass and scale of the buildings, Spence said.
The final development permit process will take up the final architecture and exterior materials to be used in the building.
He noted that the developers have made a switch from the original architect on the project to Bill Rangitsch of Steamboat Architectural Associates.
Cook said the permit application would be submitted to the city soon.
“We’re moving forward,” he said.
The developers recently completed a hotel study for River Walk, Cook said, and it has changed their perceptions of how large the hotel needs to be in order to be financially viable.
Cook had recently said they would shoot for 140 rooms, but the consultant who worked on the study says in order to hit desirable occupancy levels in this market, 75 to 80 rooms should be the goal.
Cook said he is negotiating with small corporate flag hotel operators and independents. However, signing a hotel deal is not a prerequisite for going to vertical construction. Instead, he said, Green Courte would like to sell more of the residential units in Alpen Glow and Howelsen Place before moving forward with construction of the first phase at River Walk.
Joe Cashen, team leader for Colorado Group’s downtown sales office devoted to the Green Courte projects, said the staff has shown Alpen Glow and Howelsen Place to 600 people since the middle of June. That number includes Realtors from other firms, front desk personnel and curious residents as well as prospective buyers.
“We’ve had incredible walk-in traffic,” Cashen said. “We have 50 to 100 people come to look around every weekend and we typically have a local broker set up a showing for a client about every other day.”
Four of eight condominiums at Alpen Glow are under contract with 10 percent down, Cashen said, and three of six townhomes are under contract.
Prices for one-bedroom-plus-den condos at Alpen Glow begin at $795,000. Two-bedroom condos range from $1.2 million to $1.4 million. The townhomes begin just under $1 million. Pricing works out to $595 to $670 per square foot, Cashen added.
Prices at Howelsen Place begin at $660,000. Prices for the largest three-bedroom residences, of which three remain, begin at $1.57 million and go to $1.95 million.
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