Bid on a piece of local history

Harbor Hotel items, some dating to 1940, going to auction

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After 63 years, it is possible that the historic Harbor Hotel will no longer be used as a hotel.

Jim Shumaker of the Harbor Hotel Group said the historic property at 703 Lincoln Ave. was purchased last year with the intent of keeping it a hotel. Now, after being approached by possible tenants, the group is considering putting it to other uses, including office or retail space.

"I want to emphasize that we are entertaining all different options" and that no final decision has been made, Shumaker said.

It is unlikely the property would be used completely for purposes other than a hotel, Shumaker said. Most likely, the building will be used for a combination of things, including lodging, offices and retail, he said.

Whatever the building's use, Shumaker said he hopes it will be open and functional by the 2003-04 ski season.

Shumaker said the Harbor Hotel Group did not solicit buyers or tenants for the property. However, some people have expressed interest in commercial possibilities for the building.

"There seems to be a real desire for people to be in town," Shumaker said.

The front part of the building that previously housed a gift shop may be leased to a new business.

The Swiss Haven is being converted into a Braun's Bar and Grill. There are two other Braun's locations, in Denver and Fort Collins. The Harbor Hotel Group also owns those restaurants. The former owner of the Swiss Haven moved back to Switzerland.

Braun's was expected to open early in June, but the date has been pushed back to July.

The Harbor Hotel Group purchased the hotel property for $3.9 million in September 2002. The previous owner, George Hussey, had owned the hotel for 14 years.

The Harbor Hotel was built in 1940 and has seen many owners and additions. Until recently, most of the original -- now antique -- furnishings remained in the hotel over the years.

The Harbor Hotel Group plans to completely refurbish the building, regardless of what they do with the space. The group chose to donate a bulk of the hotel's old furnishings to the American Legion, which is auctioning the items to the public.

Auctioneer Brian Bean of Bean and Bean Auctions Inc. said 700-800 pieces of furniture will be auctioned.

"There's stuff in there that's been there since the hotel was built," Bean said.

The auction will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday behind the Harbor Hotel.

Other items from the hotel were donated to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Habitat for Humanity, LIFT-UP of Routt County and the Shiloh House in Craig.

-- To reach Erin Ragan call 871-4232

or e-mail intern@steamboatpilot.com

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