Road solution still a puzzle

Atira Group returns to city for guidance on Ski Time Square


If you go

The Atira Group hosts a meeting at 9 a.m. today in the Christie Room of Thunderhead Lodge to share details about its demolition plans for Thunderhead and Ski Time Square.

— The Atira Group, redeveloper of Ski Time Square, has encountered barriers to the creation of a looped road through the development at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area, and it wants the city to help with the next steps.

"They just couldn't work things out with adjacent property owners," City Planning Director Tom Leeson said Wednesday.

Mark Mathews, vice president of development for The Atira Group, said his company has had several rounds of discussion with homeowners associations at Ski Time Square Condominiums and Kutuk.

"It's been productive, and both parties agree fundamentally there are advantages to the looped road," Mathews said. "But the devil is in the details, and we just haven't been able to agree. These are things we want to discuss with City Council."

The residential and commercial buildings in Ski Time Square have been arranged on the north side of what essentially is a dead end road since it was built in the late l960s.

The city of Steamboat Springs' 2005 update to the Mountain Town Sub-area Plan, which acts as a guide for redevelopment at the base area, sought to change that by identifying a looped road as a preferred option. Planning staff and the Planning Commission placed emphasis on the plan to improve vehicular circulation in Ski Time Square late last year.

Reacting to The Atira Group's initial filing of a pre-application plan, they asked the developers to go back to the drawing board and design a looped road. The change was reflected in preliminary site plans displayed early this year at meetings of the Urban Renewal Authority Advisory Commission. However, when revised pre-application documents were submitted this month, they showed a narrower Ski Time Square Drive with parallel parking instead of the current angle-in parking on the street.

"After diligent but unsuccessful discussion with neighboring property owners to secure right-of-way, and analysis of the loop road by a panel of design advisors, The Atira Group is proposing a narrowed Ski Time Square Drive in its current alignment," the developers wrote in a memo to the Planning Department.

Mathews said the decision to resubmit the pre-application plan with essentially the same road design isn't in defiance of City Council. Instead, he said, the best way for The Atira Group to engage the city in further discussions is to re-enter the process.

"These are things we want to discuss with City Council. We listened and received a clear message last December. Now we want to ask, 'What is your directive here?'" Mathews said. "It's up to them."

Mathews added that he's prepared to document the exchange of information that took place with the neighboring property owners.

The Atira Group consulted with attorneys, an architect, a commercial master planner and a traffic consultant on the looped road.

They reached the conclusion that Ski Time Square lacks a sufficient magnet to support a pedestrian-only retail village at a ski base.

"To be successful, pedestrian-only base village retail areas should have a destination such as a ski lift to draw a critical mass of foot traffic," they wrote. "In Ski Time Square, without such a draw, cars and parking are needed to animate and give exposure to commercial uses, especially in the summer and shoulder seasons. The loop road would divert energy from retail areas."

Mathews said whether the redeveloped Ski Time Square ends up with a looped road or the narrow Ski Time Square Drive reflected in his current plan, his company is committed to providing adequate public parking to support the commercial component of the development in off-street structures.

The Atira Group plans to raze Ski Time Square and replace the old buildings with five new buildings. In addition to high-end vacation homes, they would include 39,897 gross square feet devoted to retail and restaurant. Another 22,200 square feet would provide meeting space.

The layout of the five buildings in the revised pre-application documents appears to be the same as in the original. Two changes include a small turnaround loop in an interior road at the lower, west end of Ski Time Square and a semi-circular entry court at the upper end of the street near Kutuk condominiums.

Details of the plan include a village green as well as a second grassy area large enough to accommodate an event tent.

There is a public outdoor area along Burgess Creek with a play area and steps leading down to the creek bank.

The Atira Group also is redeveloping the Thunderhead Lodge site on the south side of Ski Time Square Drive. However, the two projects are coming through the city planning process as separate developments.


armchairqb 9 years ago

39,897 sq feet devoted to retail & restaurant???? Who would be able to afford the rent???? And what would they have to charge for a meal to make a profit????Who is going to go there????Hear me LOUD & CLEAR.... Steamboat is SHOOTING THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT!!This is NOT Vail or Aspen....never was nor will it ever be. Give me a break.


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