Project 'will transform base'

One Steamboat Place developers add affordable housing

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A large resort condominium project that would dramatically alter the base of the Steamboat Ski Area has formally entered the city planning process.

One Steamboat Place would create 34 whole ownership condos and 42 fractional ownership condos. The developers also propose to build 14 affordable housing units within the project. But there's more to the plan than just condos.

Development consultant Pet--er Patten of Steamboat Springs said One Steamboat Place will go beyond creating luxury vacation units to establish public improvements that will modernize the ski area base.

"One Steamboat Place will transform the south portion of the Steamboat ski base into a model for 21st century ski base design and provide an entirely new standard for future development projects there," Patten predicted.

Construction of One Steamboat Place would include new facilities for some of the functions essential to the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., including a new ticket office and a new children's ski school entry.

At the same time, the developers are asking the city for permission to build taller buildings than the code allows. The result would alter some views of Blacktail Mountain and the Flat Tops to the south.

City Planner Suzanne Bott said the developers' application shows ample evidence that they are working closely with the Ski Corp.

"I think it's exciting to see them working with the Ski Corp. on these opportunities," Bott said.

The site encompasses 4.3 acres and the gondola parking lot. The primary developer is a Carbondale man -- Jim Wells of SV Timbers Steamboat LLC. Whitney Ward and other owners in Wildhorse Meadows own the land One Steamboat Place would be built on. The Timbers group also has developed The Rocks Luxury Residence Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The plan submitted to the city of Steamboat Springs this month reflects an upper terminal for a people-mover gondola that would deliver skiers and shoppers to Gondola Square from Wildhorse Meadows and the nearby ski area remote parking lot.

Bott said the inclusion of the gondola in the development application does not mean it necessarily would be built.

The developers say discussions about how to share the cost of the gondola are taking place. Patten said that when built, the people mover would create new energy at the entrance to the ski area and would stimulate new shops and more efficient pedestrian walkways.

Bott said public discussions about One Steamboat Place are apt to lead the community to confront its expectations for the future of the ski area base. "It's a big philosophical leap people are going to have to adjust to," Bott said.

City officials will review technical aspects of the project today and meet informally with Patten and Wells on Jan. 31.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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