All but 4 units are under contract

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Construction at Aspen Lodge at Trappeur's Crossing is dried in for the winter, and some of the exterior siding was going up this week. Trappeur's sales manager Michael Hurley said he has firm contracts on 20 of the 24 luxury condominiums off Medicine Springs Drive. Prices for three-bedroom condominiums began in the low $600s.

If all goes as planned, the 32 units anticipated in phase five of the Trappeur's development, Emerald Lodge, will be released to the market later this winter, and construction will begin in the summer, Hurley said.

Aspen and Emerald lodges were designed by architects Eric Smith and Associates. The general contractor is HLCC Holmquist-Lorenz.

"They are performing unbelievably well," Hurley said. "Every interim deadline we've set, they've met."

Steve Cavanagh of Steamboat Springs is serving as the owner's representative on the construction project.

Trappeur's has a lengthy history -- the original condominium building and the large amenity building were constructed in 1980. The second phase, Timberline Lodge, didn't come along until 2000, but successive buildings followed in close succession as the Steamboat real estate market heated up. With each phase, the developers have increased the size of the units. Champagne Lodge, completed in 2003, included some two-bedroom units. However, the four-bedroom units sold first, followed by three-bedroom units.

Hurley said the trend traces the growing market for vacation homes that can accommodate extended families.

Of the 20 units under contract at Aspen Lodge, 10 are four-bedroom units. Some, on the third floor, have vaulted ceilings.

Trappeur's niche, in the competitive marketplace where large townhouses dominate, is that all of its floor plans are contained on a single floor.

All the buildings offer underground parking with elevators. Now, Aspen Lodge has raised the bar with a rarity in the Steamboat market -- central air conditioning, Hurley said.

Timberline Lodge pricescame in at $300 to $315 a square foot. Champagne Lodge moved the range up to $335 to $360, and Aspen Lodge proved Steamboat buyers would pay $400 a square foot for a quality property with amenities that is several hundred yards from the ski slopes.

A handful of resales at Timberline have netted owners a 10 percent return on their investment. Hurley said today's buyers are far less inclined to worry about whether their rental units will net them substantial cash flow. Many of the larger units are being held back from the nightly rental market for exclusively private use.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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