More change downtown

Liquor store to give way to new, three-story, mixed-use building

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— Steve and Denise Peterson and designer Matt Wagar enjoyed a great view of the July 4 fireworks from the rooftop of the Rocky Mountain Wine and Liquor Company at 941 Lincoln Ave.

The fireworks provided a spectacle, but the trio had more than Roman candles on their minds. The Petersons, through their company Wescoin LLLP, recently closed on the purchase of the building and already are planning Steamboat's latest downtown redevelopment project. Wescoin purchased the real estate from Robert W. and Walliburga Ralston for $2 million.

Before it was occupied by a liquor store, the building housed Ray's Texaco, which was operated by the late Ray Barrows.

The liquor store remains open for business under the new owners. However, by next summer they hope to have broken ground on a new three-story, brick-and-stone building that will nearly fill the lot at the corner of Tenth Street. "The Victoria" is one of three pending projects that would transform corner lots within a four-block stretch on Lincoln Avenue.

Like the Alpenglow at Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue and Howelsen Place at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue (both have won city approval), The Victoria would replace a more modest building. In all three cases, the new buildings would dwarf their predecessors and offer commercial spaces on the lower floors and residential units on upper floors. Also like the others, The Victoria would include underground parking. All three projects are on the south side of Lincoln, and by building up several stories, they promise views of the ski jumps at Howelsen Hill.

"We're hoping to break ground early next spring," Denise Peterson said. "We think the changes in downtown and at the mountain in the next three years are going to be dramatic. We also think that we're in a community that's lagged behind a little in refining the town. Now it's finally getting here."

Peterson said she and her husband tentatively plan to include office space in their project. However, the ratio of office, retail/restaurant and residential space has not been worked out.

The Petersons own Snow Country Concrete and will be the general contractors on the project. Several years ago, they developed Southside Station, a Shell-branded gasoline station and convenience store with an attached liquor store on East U.S. Highway 40.

The Victoria is being designed by Matt Wagar of Moon Hill Design although the project has not formally entered the city planning process. Peterson said the intent is to honor the historical design elements of Lincoln Avenue. Wagar said the elevation drawings are still tentative. The predominant exterior building material -- red brick and stone block -- is intended to emulate the native stone on the Rehder Building, which currently houses Vectra Bank at Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Wagar said he has received positive feedback from city planning staff during preliminary conversations.

Wagar said the current design calls for the building to occupy 13,000 square feet of the 14,000-square-foot lot. That plan honors a required 10-foot setback from the alley, Wagar said. He added that the building elevation fronting the alley would be constructed to high design standards.

Wagar said his clients want to construct a building the community will be proud of. "It's not just about putting a building up for them," Wagar said. "They want to do a quality project that fits with Steamboat.

Wescoin is actively taking reservations for spaces in the future building.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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