Steamboat Springs' new-car dealerships are taking steps to polish and detail their showrooms.
Steamboat Motors, which sells primarily Dodge and Ford vehicles, is planning an exterior and interior remodel on its showroom at 2310 Lincoln Ave. (see related story) and Cook Chevrolet, Olds, Jeep, Subaru dealership is planning to build a new 12,000-square-foot showroom building at U.S. Highway 40 and Curve Court. The two projects are less than a mile apart on the city's west side.
Cook, with a location in Craig, has made do with a display lot and small office but no showroom on Steamboat's west side for many years. Owner Scott Cook's contract with General Motors permits him to have a rare satellite dealership.
The dealership intends to build a new showroom about one-half mile west of its present location that would allow it to display cars indoors.
"We're plugging along at a high rate of speed," Cook said Thursday. He would like to break ground as soon as June or July.
Tentative elevation drawings by architect Matt Wagar of Moonhill Design depict a building with multiple roof gables.
Although it would have U.S. 40 frontage, the main entrance would be on Curve Court, immediately opposite the Steamboat Pilot & Today's printing plant. The showroom and vehicle display lot would face Curve Court to the west.
The project went through a pre-application process with the city Planning Department in fall 2003 and is being submitted for a major development plan.
Proponent Scott Cook owns the 4-acre parcel of land, which originally was planned as the site of a hotel and offices within the larger "Curve Development." City planner Tom Leeson said the site is in a commercial zone district, which permits automobile dealerships as a conditional use.
"They're in exactly the right place," Leeson said.
The showroom floor, reception and office areas would comprise about 10,000 square feet. Major repair facilities would remain at the Cook dealership in Craig, with some minor repairs taking place in Steamboat. The design of the new building is intended to allow expansion to include a full repair facility in the future. The second story of the building would contain 2,000 square feet of lease space available for rent.
Leeson praised the architecture of the building. He said details remain to be worked out on the landscaping plan for the U.S. 40 side of the property. The applicants are seeking a variance to the landscaping requirements, he said because of existing manmade wetlands. He noted that the applicants have a desire to ensure that the car lot is visible form the highway.
"We're in favor of giving them a variance, but we think they can do more," Leeson said.
"It's amazing what sells cars," Cook said in a previous interview. "One of the biggest things is people being able to see cars" when they drive by.
Another wrinkle Cook is pursuing is an elevated ramp intended for the display of several cars in front of the dealership on Curve Court. Leeson said he approves of the 36-inch ramp in concept, but it is currently sited in a snow removal easement. City Public Works officials are worried about the possibility of damaging the finish of the cars when snowplows throw scoria to the side of the road, and they would like to see the ramp moved back.
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