Developer changes South Village plans

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A proposal city Planning Commission will see tonight for an 8.5-acre commercial development will be almost unrecognizable from the plans proposed for the same site last summer.

Developer Whitney Ward gave his plans for South Village at Steamboat commercial center a major overhaul -- starting with the name and continuing on to parking lots, building size and sidewalks.

He changed the name to Wildhorse Marketplace and added a Western feel to the architecture.

Tonight, Ward will present plans for an 88,400-square-foot, eight-building development center. The site sits east of the Sinclair Gas Station on Mount Werner Road and across the road from Central Park Plaza.

In May, the Planning Commission gave the project's preliminary plan mixed reviews. Commissioners said the plans contained what looked like a sea of parking and that the proposed architecture looked too much like big-box stores. They also worried about the effect the development could have on downtown businesses.

Ward listened, traveled across the country looking at commercial centers, threw away $50,000 worth of architectural plans, hired a new design firm and came up with a plan he hopes the city is willing to accept.

One of the major differences is the layout of the site. Ward eliminated a 24,000-square-foot parking area in the center. Instead, the entrance off Mount Werner Road has a roundabout, and to give the complex an urban feel, diagonal parking spots line the site's interior road.

The plan also includes smaller buildings than originally proposed. Ward decreased the size of the anchor tenant building by 16,000 square feet. The largest building and the only two-story building on the site, it sits at the back of the site and in direct view of the front entrance roundabout. It will have 10,000 square feet of retail on the first floor and 10,000 square feet of office space on the upper level.

The center strip of buildings will hold a 6,000-square-foot restaurant, a 10,000-square-foot retail building and two 12,000-square-foot mixed retail and restaurant buildings.

In other business: The city Planning Commission will decide if a bed and breakfast will be allowed in an area zoned for single-family residences with a secondary unit. The four-bedroom bed and breakfast is proposed for a Victorian-style house that is easily visible from the ski area's gondola. The home is in a neighborhood surrounded by a mix of single-family residences and high-density residential units predominately used for nightly rentals.

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