Builders plan new mixed-use facility

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— Two Steamboat Springs businessmen hope to build a three-story building that would combine commercial and residential uses on the city's west side.

Stephen Moore and Ben jamin "Jamie" Letson are the principals in Highway 40 LLC. Together, they own lots 1 and 2 of the Riverside Subdivision.

The site is on the southeast corner of the intersection of Riverside Drive and U.S. Highway 40, directly across the highway from Grease Monkey. Linwood Cedar Homes is across Riverside Drive from the site.

Moore is a principal in Steamboat Engineering and Architectural Design, a company whose credits include the Howelsen Ice Arena remodel. Letson is a general contractor.

Their proposed building entered the city planning process this month. No public hearings have been scheduled for the project, and no decision is imminent.

Riverside is a residential subdivision originally built outside the city limits and later annexed into the city. The two highway frontage lots owned by Moore and Letson are zoned "commercial neighborhood (CN)."

City Planner Tom Leeson said the zoning is intended for transitional neighborhoods.

A similar zone district applies to much of Oak Street in downtown Steamboat, he added.

Moore said he and Letson are both interested in building equity in their business location.

"We're not trying to retire on this," Moore said of the project. "I want to turn my rent into a mortgage and occupy the space with my business for maybe 15 years."

In addition to offices and shops for the principals' businesses, there is room for one more major tenant. Moore said they also would research the possibility of selling "condominium-ized" office space in the building.

"Hopefully it will be a place where other local businesses can grow," Moore said.

In addition to commercial space, tentative drawings of the building show a two-bedroom, two-story residential unit with its own garage, plus a small studio apartment on the third floor.

The developers are open to proposals for a live-work arrangement.

Moore has taken a creative approach to designing the building -- the footprint deliberately avoids the typical rectangular box seen in many commercial/light industrial buildings. It also features varied rooflines.

"The idea was to try to enhance that corner," Moore said. "It's very visible. We wanted to soften the corner."

There is a Steamboat Springs Transit bus stop along U.S. 40 in front of the building site and a cluster mail-delivery box where the lot adjoins Riverside Drive. There is one single-family home immediately to the rear of the site.

Moore said he intends to contact neighbors in Riverside before submitting a full development permit application to the city.


-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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