Saturday, February 3, 2001
Steamboat Springs American Skiing Co.'s deal to sell the gondola parking lot to a Florida developer has fallen through. And a company spokesman said this week uncertainty about the future of the nearby Gondola Transit Center contributed to the 4.247-acre parcel going out of contract.
"The deal is now formally dead," said Tim Greene, vice president of real estate for ASC in Steamboat. "Other people have expressed interest, but we don't have anything active. There were too many unknowns about what the transit center is going to be, where it's going to be and the cost share of redevelopment (of the gondola base) for (the client) to take a flier" on the purchase, Greene said.
The prospective buyer was a well-funded developer from a southeastern state. It would have been their first venture into snow country, Greene said.
Documents on file with the city of Steamboat Springs show city officials met with project architects and designers working on behalf of a client called LandMar Group LLC based in Jacksonville, Fla.
Greene said the buyer was planning a residential condominium project with ancillary commercial space. The density would have conformed with a preexisting city approval for a project informally known as "Snowflower II." That would have translated into about 117 condominium units and 30,000 square feet of commercial space.
Greene said the project would have sought a vehicular access on Mount Werner Circle in addition to an existing access on Apres Ski Way. That could have raised a conflict with tentative plans to expand the Gondola Transit Center to the south, bordering the western edge of the "Snowflower II" site.
The parcel of land in question is Z-shaped and includes the current "South Face Park," where preschoolers and never-evers are introduced to skiing, and the current gondola parking lot, Greene said. It also includes a portion of undeveloped land where the former Inferno nightclub had a volleyball net during the summer.
City of Steamboat Springs transit manager George Krawzoff confirmed that he met with representatives of the prospective buyer to discuss issues related to the future of the transit center. He said one potential challenge was the developers' wish to segregate their arriving guests from the rest of the shuttle vans and buses arriving at the adjacent transit center. "The problem that presents for us is it eliminates any possible expansion of the Gondola Transit Center" as described in the Mountain town Sub-Area Plan, he said.
That plan, completed in 1999, envisions expanding the transit center to the south along Mount Werner Circle and replacing the present diagonal pull-in arrangement for buses and shuttles with a more linear arrangement that would make better use of the space. The plan exists on paper only, and there are no immediate plans to build the expansion.
Greene said one of the complexities of the transit center challenge is working out details of a price-sharing agreement, if and when the redesign goes forward.
"It's an issue the community has to deal with," he said.