A true home office

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— Ryan and Kyle Lewis moved to Steamboat about a week ago without a place to live or space to build their future business.

The brothers came from Manhattan, where they worked as finance analysts and Web site developers. They came to Steamboat mainly because of the ski mountain, but they say they identified a need in Steamboat to help businesses optimize or create Web sites.

They solved both their living and office space dilemma with a single decision when they decided to sign a lease at a new live-work building in the Downhill Plaza area off Elk River Road on the west side of Steamboat.

"It's our house, too, so we don't have to look for additional space for an office," Kyle Lewis said.

There are four two-story units in the building, which is principally owned by Les Liman and managed by Dave Epstein. Liman also developed three other buildings that contain live-work and warehouse spaces in the Downhill Drive Industrial Park area.

"It seems like a cool little area," Ryan Lewis said.

Liman also is the principal owner of ACZ Laboratories and Twin Enviro Services.

The Lewis brothers will live upstairs in their 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, loft-like apartment, which has a living room with large windows and an adjoining kitchen with granite countertops.

The 1,000 square feet below their living area is open space that Kyle Lewis said would give them "a lot of options."

That was one of the most important aspects of the space, the brothers said.

The open workspace has a garage door entrance where they will park their car. That still leaves enough space for a few tables, computers, printers, desks and a conference area where they can work.

Liman's newest building is the latest of a number of live-work projects that have been completed or are under construction in Routt County.

"Les got the ball rolling and others are following suit," Epstein said. "They are definitely needed, especially in a resort town where there is a need for affordable housing."

Liman started developing the industrial park in the late 1990s with three buildings containing 24 units.

"They were built with the idea that you could have a second floor," Epstein said.

Of the 24 units, five include residential spaces. Artists, an interior decorator, a baker and tradesmen occupy some of the units.

Epstein said the units in the newest building rent for $1,775 a month plus a management fee of $90. There is one available unit.

Epstein and Lewis expect the demand for the live-work and industrial space to continue to grow.

Construction on a similar live-work building will start in the spring, Epstein said. He can be reached at 291-9555.

- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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