County approves store for Stagecoach

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As early as next spring, Stagecoach residents could have a general store, coffee shop, liquor store and gas station to call their own.

On Tuesday, Routt County commissioners approved plans for a 4,900-square-foot store on 2.2 acres of land at Routt County Road 212 and Schussmark Trail.

Chris Wittemyer, representing applicant Stagecoach Ski Corp., said they would start site-preparation work this summer with hopes of starting construction of the building in the fall or next spring.

The earliest the commercial center will open is next spring, Wittemyer said.

Although a 24-hour-accessible gas station, which could be used with a credit card after regular business hours, is part of the proposal, Wittemeyer said the development is not a typical convenience store.

"What we are trying to do is the 2005 version of the Clark Store, in many respects," Wittemyer said. "We want the feel of the Clark Store, more of a general store than a convenience store."

The architecture calls for a ranch-style building with board-and-batten siding, a wrap-around porch and a steeply pitched, gabled metal roof.

The building is expected to house a general store with gas pumps, a liquor store, a coffee shop and real estate office space. Wittemyer said there are people interested in leasing the space but that nothing has been formalized. All the interested parties are local, he said.

"Our plan is to build it, then really work with the tenants there to have the businesses succeed," Wittemyer said. "There is such a local demand there, I think the people working there and business owners are going to come from Stagecoach."

In deciding to build the commercial space, Wittemyer said they had to look at how much the existing residents would support the store and how many future residents the commercial businesses would draw.

"A lot of people wanted to get services for a long time. There was a little concern, economically, (that) it was not the right time," he said.

But the potential for future growth and new plans that recently have come before the county have Wittemyer thinking a store could make it. The store would be in a location that is central to the 500 planned and existing homes in the Stagecoach area.

"We are getting a critical mass of people to start supporting commercial business," Wittemyer said. "But a critical mass also wants to see services. It comes hand in hand."

The project the commissioners approved Tuesday comes in two phases, with a building in each phase.

Wittemyer said they are waiting to see the needs of the community before determining what will go in the second building. He noted that requests have come in for a day-care center and a storage facility.

"We have got to really figure out what the community wants or needs," he said. "There are clearly other needs that we are not going to meet through this project."

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