Developers eager to begin

Wildhorse Meadows could add 600 residential units within 10 years


The developer of 600 planned residential units near the Steamboat Ski Area base would like to begin site preparation in Wildhorse Meadows by late summer.

RP Steamboat LLC, led by partners Whitney Ward, David Hill and Brent Pearson, has filed a development plan with the city of Steamboat Springs.

"We're ready to go," Ward said this week. "We have all of our capital arranged and closed and ready to be invested in the community."

The plan calls for a range of dwellings as well as commercial buildings and amenities to include a public learning center on 47 acres formerly known as Tennis Meadows. The project could take 7 to 10 years.

The site wraps around the ski area's remote parking lot and extends up a steep ridge to Mount Werner Circle. The project would be linked to Gondola Square by a people-mover gondola. As proposed by the development team, it would be private, however, Ward said this week that he remains open to a partnership with the ski area and the city that would make the lift public.

"We don't have our hand out here for this lift," Ward said. "We think from a community sense, it would make sense if this lift were available for public use. We're willing to make our private easement available for public use."

Ward has proposed an equal cost sharing among his development, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and the city. However, he emphasized that he and his partners are prepared to build a lower capacity lift at their expense.

"We're not asking for any money to build our lift," Ward said.

Peter Patten, land-use planner for Wildhorse Meadows, said the development of the project is likely to be spread out over nine phases with as many as 82 affordable-housing units built at a pace that would match city requirements for each phase.

The first phase most likely would be 41 single-family home sites at the southern end of the project closest to Walton Creek Road.

The mix of housing units also would include 85 townhomes, 175 condominiums in three buildings and 265 condominium hotel units in two buildings.

The condominium hotel buildings would be three and four stories tall over one or two levels of sub-surface parking. The hotels would be built next to a public plaza that is intended to be the center of the community.

Wildhorse Plaza would be next to the lower terminal of the gondola. The plaza also could be the site of a public ice skating rink.

"The ice rink would be part of the hotel development," Ward said. "We're not guaranteeing it would be built."

Ward said he is talking with several hotel developers, including one "four-star" property.

The plaza is also where retail, restaurant and skier services would be built.

The developers anticipate 5,000 square feet of retail space in the condominium hotel, a general store of 2,300 square feet, 10,600 square feet of skier services and food and beverage, a 2,300-square-foot educational/cultural center and a 12,000-square-foot private athletics center.

Ward said he envisions the education center would be a place for presentations by authors and naturalists, or perhaps a space for children's programs.

City Planner Suzanne Bott confirmed that the developers are seeking to go through a

preliminary plat process that will subdivide the overall project. In the future, the developers of the hotel, for example, would come back through the city development permit process with a clear idea of what they could or could not build.

Ward said his development group intends to build the entire infrastructure for Wildhorse Meadows, including interior roads, simultaneously. It would develop the single family building lots first, and individual homeowners could build to a set of strict design guidelines. Ward said phases 2 and 3 also would be tackled by RP Steamboat and would include a luxury condo building and group of townhomes, both close to the plaza.

"If we can get approved by early this summer, we would break ground shortly thereafter," Ward said.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail


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