Makeover planned at 11th and Yampa streets

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Stephen Caragol drove by the corner of 11th and Yampa streets eight years ago and knew it was the perfect location.

At the time, it was home to a miniature golf course, an inner-tube rental business, and it was near Little Toots Park and across the street from the river with unobstructed views.

"We realized it was a vibrant site," Caragol said. "So, even though the land wasn't for sale, we sought the owners and bought it, realizing it would be a great development site in the future."

The future is now.

Caragol and his company, Yampa Valley Investments LLC, brought a proposal for a modern, handsome mixed residential/commercial project before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission on Jan. 22 and received a good reception from commission members, city Planner Jonathan Spence said.

"It's the perfect thing for that location," Spence said. "It's an important parcel, and it should spur future development in the Yampa corridor. It will be great having residential spaces there. The more people we have living downtown, the better chance we have of maintaining a vibrant downtown.

"It's interesting because you could see this being at Seventh and Yampa, but having it down on that end of the street will really tie together that whole area."

The commercial broker for the project, Hal Unruh of Prudential Steamboat Realty, agrees.

"To some degree, we are pioneering," Unruh said. "This project is going to become an anchor for other developments to come in that area. The commercial spaces will probably be offices and things of that nature."

Sitting on the .48-acre parcel is a 4,000-square-foot commercial building that was built in 1966. The building most recently was used for a city-sponsored teen center that has since moved to temporary buildings next to Howelsen Ice Arena.

The Yampa Street project will involve renovating and expanding -- or possibly demolishing, if it is found functionally obsolete -- the existing commercial building, Caragol said.

The project will focus on building an 18,000-square-foot building containing nine to 11 residential units and more than 5,000 square feet of street-level commercial space. The building also will house three to four employee-designated residential units over four two-car garages. Parking areas and sidewalks with plants along Yampa and 11th streets also will be included.

The exterior will have a brick façade with stucco upper and a metal shed roof, covering large functional terraces and cantilever windows. The interiors will have mid- to high-end finishes. Caragol said he hopes presales will allow buyers to select the options they like.

No presales are available yet; final plans and approvals have yet to be made. But, Caragol said he has been getting calls from businesses and individuals interested in buying units.

"These will be extremely attractive," Caragol ensured.

Depending approval, Yampa Valley Investments hopes to break ground in May and anticipates project completion in early 2005.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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