Patrick Delaney : Hotel worth preserving

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Historic Routt County! has received numerous telephone calls and e-mails regarding the possible demolition of the Harbor Hotel. People are concerned about the fate of this important landmark. In the interest of education regarding historic preservation, the Board of Directors for HRC respectfully submits the following:

The Harbor Hotel building is an International Style landmark. It opened in 1939, the year after the loss of Steamboat's Cabin Hotel to a fire. The new Harbor Hotel allowed Steamboat Springs to continue having a prominent destination hotel in its main commercial district. It is at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, arguably the most important intersection in downtown Steamboat.

The current owner and the potential buyer's representative recently escorted HRC's Board of Directors on a tour of the building. An architect and engineer explained some of the challenges of renovation that the building presents. HRC is encouraged that the property owners have agreed to have a historic structure assessment made on the Harbor Hotel. That report will be compiled by the preservation architect who recently conducted historic assessments on the Steamboat Depot and the Rehder Building. It will evaluate the physical condition of the hotel from a historic preservation perspective and will detail the options, costs and possible methods of rehabilitation. There is no assurance that the buyer will follow any recommendations.

Steamboat was Colorado's first White House-designated Preserve America Community. HRC is concerned that in the demolition of the Harbor Hotel building, Steamboat would lose a rare example of International Style architecture, a prominent historic landmark and a character-defining feature of Lincoln Avenue.

The loss of the Harbor Hotel could jeopardize the eligibility of downtown Steamboat to be listed as a National Historic Register District. That prestigious designation would showcase the historic character of Steamboat's downtown. It could provide tourism attraction and tax benefits for many merchants and building owners within the district. Historic Routt County!, the city of Steamboat Springs and Main Street have invested years of research and advocacy toward this designation. This community effort may be compromised by the demolition of the Harbor Hotel.

Although we understand the rights and needs of any potential buyers of the property, Historic Routt County! is hopeful that the individuals/entities involved will consider the significant effect that the loss of the Harbor Hotel can present for our community.

HRC has information about alternatives to demolition of the Harbor Hotel and many resources and incentives for historic preservation. Feel free to contact HRC.

Sincerely,

Patrick Delaney

President, Historic Routt County! Board of Directors, on behalf of the board: David Epstein, Jim Goossens, Wanda Redmond, Bain White,

Christine White

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