Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Reinventing Downtown Steamboat Springs

There was an excellent editorial in the Sunday Pilot that I want to point out and recommend you read because it has a good summary of what is going on in downtown Steamboat. Howelsen Place should contain some new first class retail for the shoppers and a great new restaurant. Riverwalk will be a really great place to hang out along the river, get a nice meal and see some smaller public performances. Overall we expect to see more fun things to do downtown and nice public spaces to just hang out. Yampa Street is expected to evolve into the primary pedestrian corridor and will be a nicer place to have lunch than on main street. The editorial doesn’t mention it but downtown we need to do something about parking in the same sort of timeframe. That said if you walk 1-2 blocks a space is almost always available.

So far I think that what is happening will make Downtown a much nicer place to hang out while maintaining the things we all love about it.If you would like more details on what is happening downtown just drop me a line by phone or email. The following are selected quotes and a link to the full article.

"The approval last week of The Olympian, a 41,100-square-foot commercial and residential building at the corner of Fifth and Yampa streets, continues the radical transformation of our downtown area. We believe this transformation will have a significantly positive impact on the community, raising the vibrancy of downtown, helping existing small businesses, enhancing downtown as a retail and entertainment destination for visitors and driving sales tax revenues even higher.

It is worth noting that this transformation is being driven not by government, but by private investors and their faith in our resort economy. Developers have shown a growing willingness to take chances on major projects in the area between Third and 13th streets. And as each project is approved and completed, it encourages others to make similar investments. We think their investments will pay off, for them and the city as a whole.

These are no small undertakings. A summary of what has been done in the past three years: Waterside Village, Alpenglow, Howelsen Place, Riverwalk, the Olympian and the Victoria (see the full article below for details) These six projects will add nearly 200 residential units to downtown, an eighth of which will be affordable units. New stores, shops and restaurants are being added. And buildings and spaces that needed to go away: the Harbor Hotel, the Alpiner, Rocky Mountain Discount Liquors, Emerald City and Westland Mobile Home Park are going away.

Throw in some of the other projects of recent years: the new Ski and Bike Kare building, the new Cugino's, the renovations at Lyon'’s Corner Drug and Azteca Taqueria and the Chieftain Building— and you can see what Realtor and developer Jim Cook means when he says downtown Steamboat is being reinvented. Cook, who is involved in half of the big six projects going on downtown, sees downtown Steamboat becoming an attractive entertainment district." I encourage you to read the full piece here

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1 comment:

Justin B said...

I am always reminded of an episode of my favorite show--Arrested Development. They are pitching a development partnership to another company and the owner of the other company who is known as a charitable guy says he only asks that they set aside one of the 500 units for a low income family. "Why, so that the other 499 can live in fear." Sorry, affordable housing just reminds me of that.

I posted a series of articles on ski-blog.com about the problems with housing affordability, especially at Mammoth, where prices have gone so high that local workers are forced to live two communities away and commute. The towns lose their entire sense and character if locals are pushed out by rich folks that own their condos or homes and spend a week a year at the resort.

I am glad to see that Steamboat is doing something about that. It is not like Park City, which I guess is comparable. The resort workers live in Salt Lake because renting in PC is too expensive for your average bartender or waiter or lift worker or ski instructor to afford. New projects replacing old ones is always good, but the accompanying loss of affordable housing is not. Best of both worlds here.