Condos slated for inn

Owner would tear down Ptarmigan Inn

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A Washington, D.C., real estate development firm specializing in urban renovation wants to tear down the Ptarmigan Inn and the Snowbird Restaurant to build 60 residential condominiums next to the slopes at the Steamboat Ski Area.

The proposed seven-story condo project is being called Aspen Ridge. Michael Blaser, an attorney for the inn's Texas-based owners, IHS Twenty-Seven Ltd., said Cafritz Interests has a contract to purchase the Ptarmigan pending city approval of plans for the new project.

The developers recently submitted a pre-application packet to the Steamboat Springs Planning Department. No public hearings have been scheduled yet.

City Planner Jonathan Spence said the proposal as submitted exceeds community development code requirements in terms of overall height and overall square footage. The developers have acknowledged that situation in a letter to planning staff. They intend to address it by submitting their project to the more rigorous Planned Unit Development process.

Initial plans for Aspen Ridge call for a 127,000-square-foot building, including three employee units. The developers propose two levels of below-grade parking with five levels of residential units. However, preliminary elevation drawings show a building seven stories above ground next to the Headwall ski trail.

The Ptarmigan Inn building is more than 25 years old. It is across AprÃs Ski Way from the Phoenix condominiums. It is marketed as a Best Western hotel and is a separate property from Ptarmigan House condominiums next door.

Potential buyer Cafritz Interests has been in the redevelopment business since the 1960s, acquiring existing buildings in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia and renovating them. According to the company's corporate Web site, it looks for opportunities to add value by changing the use and/or quality of existing buildings. Typical of its projects is the 151-suite hotel, One Washington Circle in the Georgetown section of Washington. Originally an apartment building, it was converted to a hotel by Cafritz and sold to Starwood hotel group. Subsequently, Cafritz facilitated a purchase of the property by George Washington University and now manages the hotel for the university.

Cafritz also works outside the Washington area. The company announced a plan this fall to partner with the Scion Group to convert a Milwaukee, Wis., office building into loft-style housing intended for students at Marquette University. The student housing would feature private bedrooms, kitchens and high-speed Internet access.

At Aspen Ridge, the developers are proposing a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom condos.

The developers do not plan to create a public restaurant in the project, but they intend to provide onsite dining for guests of the property. Other amenities would include on-site check-in, a pool and spa. The intent is to convert a parking lot to the west of the existing building to a landscaped area surrounding a water feature and pedestrian walkways connecting with surrounding developments. Documents on file with the city planning department do not include a construction schedule.

The architectural firm working on the project is Eric Smith Associates.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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