Steamboat senior-living facility hits $40 million
Developers seek permit for care center along Walton Creek Road
August 10, 2011
Steamboat Springs — The developers of a more than $40 million senior-living facility off Walton Creek Road enter the city approval process in earnest Thursday night when they go before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission seeking a development permit.
The principals in Colorado Senior Residences, intend to build a 121,000-square-foot continuous care facility on a 6-acre site just east of Casey's Pond and close to the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road. The site is about a mile from the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
"This is a big milestone, and we're excited to bring it to the Planning Commission," developer Charles Gee said Wednesday.
As recently as February, Gee and fellow principals Phil Shapiro and Tom Finley thought they might be able to acquire the necessary city permits and begin vertical construction in 2011, but Gee said it makes more sense to get the project entitled this fall, begin construction in spring 2012 and open the following autumn.
"We're very sensitive to our costs, and we really wanted to start construction in the spring," he said. "Now we feel very comfortable we can get our entitlements by the end of the year and get financing in place for a 2012 start, then open before the holidays in 2013."
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The continuous care facility would include as many as 60 skilled nursing studio apartments as well as independent living apartments and assisted living apartments. The facility also will include the first memory care apartments for seniors in Northwest Colorado, Gee said.
The current Doak Walker Care Center would move to the new Casey's Pond Senior Living campus when it opens.
A new wrinkle in the development plans since last winter is a request for a variance from city code that would allow the developers to increase the square footage of the building by 50 percent at an unspecified time.
City Planner Jason Peasley said Wednesday that he is comfortable with the request and granting the variance does not represent the final planning approval for any future expansion of Casey's Pond Senior Living. The developers would have to go seek a separate development permit process to expand the building.
Gee said the ability to expand the project to meet demand would add value to the project and appeal to financial institutions. He added that he and his partners are committed to taking a sensitive approach to the impact that the development could have on neighboring properties.
"We want to maintain flexibility and sustainability over the long term. Adding more independent living would be our ultimate goal," Gee said, "But we expect strong demand in all of the products. … Senior living as an asset class is performing very well compared to other real estate classes."
Peasley said that before Colorado Senior Residences began planning the Casey's Pond Senior Living project, it was under a form of zoning that did not include the floor area ratios that the developers are seeking a variance from. They are designed to limit the size of buildings by establishing a ratio between overall square footage of the building and the size of the lot that cannot be exceeded.
In this case, Peasley said, city planning staff asked the developers to change the zoning so the project could be reviewed in accordance with the visual standards set for the entry corridor to the city. Only then did developers become subject to floor area ratios, he said. And neighboring properties are not governed by those limits he added.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com
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