Changes in works for motel

Corner destined for redevelopment

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Changes are coming to the Nite's Rest Motel, 601 Lincoln Ave. The old sign came off the top of the carport Wednesday, but the bigger changes are at least a year in the future.

A group of local developers purchased the motel in June and announced their intention to redevelop the site into a mix of commercial and residential units that would wrap around the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue. Earlier this month, they submitted specific plans to the city of Steamboat Springs Planning Department for a three-story building fronting on Lincoln Avenue, plus six townhomes across an alley at the rear of the building.

"The townhomes are going to be the really fun part of that project," development partner Jim Cook said. "A driving part of the city's master plan is to make better use of those alleys."

Cook envisions living units where artisans and fine crafters, among others, might be able to afford to live and sell their work, creating new energy in the downtown shopping district.

Although the Nite's Rest no longer is operating as a motel, the rooms are being rented on a monthly basis. And they will stay that way until at least June 2005, he said. He said he has a waiting list of downtown employees who would like to rent rooms.

The 21-unit Nite's Rest was operated by Cindy and Chris Stillwell for the past 15 years. The property, with 85 feet of Lincoln Avenue frontage, was purchased by 601 LLC, a group of five partners, each with equal shares of the project. They include Cook and Kris McGee, both of Colorado Group Realty, local restaurateurs Jeff and Kristi Brown, architect Joe Fry of Vaught Frye Architects based in Fort Collins and general contractor Terry Drahota. They submitted "pre-application documents to the city this week.

Tentative plans call for a three-story building that would include 6,500 square feet of retail space for rent, 1,042 square feet devoted to employee rental units and several second- and third-floor residential units. They also include two single-story units of about 1,200 square feet plus four larger two-story townhomes that would range in size from 1,344 square feet to 1,896 square feet.

Although the building is accurately described as a three-story structure, it would not present a solid three-story façade to Lincoln Avenue. Tentative elevation sketches show that the third-story residential units would not fill the perimeter of the building. City Planner Tom Leeson said the city code requires third stories in the Lincoln Avenue commercial district be stepped back from the main stories.

Cook said that parapet walls at the top of the second story would help to screen the third-story residences. The intent is to create a significant architectural "presence" at the corner entrance to the building through the use of native quarried stone and brick that is typical of buildings on Lincoln, Cook said.

Plans for the building call for creating 26 underground parking spaces.

In addition to the main building, the developers want to develop six townhomes that would border a natural city park on Butcherknife Creek. When they purchased the motel, 601 LLC also acquired a parcel that extends along the alley for 150 feet. "The alley townhomes have been created to emulate similar projects in urban centers throughout the United States that are making better use of their alleyways," Cook said.

The developers have not applied for a development permit at this stage of the process, and no public hearings on the project have been scheduled.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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