New Aspen Lodge condo project aims for May 1 start

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At least five resort condominium projects are preparing to get under way in Steamboat Springs this year, but Michael Hurley is confident his project has the jump on everyone else's.

Hurley is sales manager for Aspen Lodge, the fourth phase of Trappeur's Crossing. The 24-unit project is bounded by Walton Creek Road on the south, Village Drive on the west and Medicine Springs Drive to the north.

"The project will officially be released to the market Jan. 30, and I have 11 people who have placed holding deposits," Hurley said. We'd like to begin construction May 1."

Other projects in the offing include One Steamboat Place, Cimarron, The Pointe and The Chadwick. Australian developer Rod Forrester's big advantage in breaking ground on his 24-unit condo project is that Aspen Lodge already has gained the necessary city approvals. Other projects closer to the gondola are just entering the planning process, and ground breaking could be 18 months away.

Cimarron, not far from Aspen Lodge, also is planning to deliver some of its units this summer.

Some of the future products will be able to brag about ski-in, ski-out access, but Hurley says Aspen Lodge will offer amenities others couldn't afford in today's market, plus the chance to relax.

The new building will offer central air conditioning, Hurley said, an advantage that previously was overlooked in Steamboat because of its cool summers. But three years of drought and relative heat have made climate control a priority even in the Yampa Valley, he said.

Another selling point is an unusually large amenities building capable of hosting business conferences and weddings. It boasts an outdoor pool with an indoor entrance pool and a large exercise room. The fourth phase of Trappeurs will trigger the construction of a second outdoor pool and hot tubs.

"In today's dollars, to replicate the amenities building would cost in the neighborhood of $2 million," Hurley said.

Trappeurs is unusual in the Steamboat market because the original condo building and amenities building were built 18 years ago. Thanks to architect Eric Smith, Hurley said, the more recent buildings have been upgraded while remaining harmonious with the original building, dating from the 1980s.

The most recent phase of Trappeurs was Champagne Lodge, completed in 2001-02. It included 28 units in a similar footprint to that of the new project. Aspen Lodge will have just 24 units to create larger condominiums demanded by the current market. Hurley said he expects most of his buyers to come from among existing owners and repeat guests.

Champagne Lodge included a significant mix of two-bedroom units, Hurley said, but Aspen Lodge will offer just two. Most of the units will be three- or four-bedroom condos ranging between 1,750 and 1,982 square feet. Prices for the larger units range between $585,000 and $625,000, a price point Hurley anticipates will put them in a niche below projects closer to the gondola.

The interior finishes are being upgraded to include granite slab countertops, stainless steel appliances and gas cook tops. The interior decorator is LeAnn Pifer of Interior Market.

The property manager is ResortQuest, which manages 20,000 vacation rentals in more than 50 markets across the country. The ability to generate referrals from ResortQuest gives the project high rental-occupancy rates for its owners, Hurley said.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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