Museum to seek new home

Planning Commission to review building plan

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— The Hands-On! Children's Museum, a seven-month-old establishment on Eighth Street, has been enjoying some goodwill from a community-minded realtor.

Sometime in the next year, however, the building the museum is in will probably be demolished to make room for a mixed-use structure.

The city Planning Commission will review a permit for a new 15,129-square-foot building tonight on a 7,618-square-foot site. That site currently holds a building Jim Cook of Colorado Group Realty has been leasing to the museum free of charge since last winter.

The museum building will be demolished to make room for the new building. The museum will look elsewhere for a building and more funding, said museum director Tibby Speare.

"It is such a sweet, magical place," Speare said. "We're so grateful to have that building. We will be really sad when we have to leave. So far this has been such an amazing process with people helping out so I am pretty optimistic."

Speare said she has been told she may have to leave as soon as December but hopes the deadline will be extended.

Because the meeting will be a conceptual review the commissioners will not be voting on the project but will give the applicants a sense of what they think of the proposal.

The city's Historical Preservation Advisory Com-

mission also took a look at the building, identifying a few concerns with its design, though the commission generally approved of the application.

Demolition of the 1940's-era building now on the site raised few concerns, in part because it has not maintained much of its historical integrity and usefulness, said the city's historic preservation specialist, Laureen Schaffer.

The commission was concerned with the setback on the third story of the building, which is 10 feet rather than the 20-foot setback required in the Old Town draft design guidelines.

Architect Nan Anderson said the building's design is meant to work with the design of buildings around it, with "the kind of detailing that makes older buildings in Steamboat so charming."

She said the Colorado Group Realty building is not much taller than the Vectra Bank building adjacent to it and, even though it is three stories high, will not overshadow the other buildings in the area.

Cook is hoping to build the new multiple-use building to accommodate two retail spaces, offices and residences.

The first story could hold two retail spaces, the second would have two spaces for office uses and the third story would hold two residences.

The average size of the residences is 1,787 square feet.

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