Employee housing in the Iron Horse Inn is situated close to the Yampa River Core  Trail.

Photo by Tom Ross

Employee housing in the Iron Horse Inn is situated close to the Yampa River Core Trail.

Iron Horse attracts developer interest

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The city of Steamboat Springs has continued to honor existing reservations for short-term rentals at the Iron Horse Inn this summer. Beginning in the fall, a management company will rent it for employee housing only.

— The city's plans to redevelop the Iron Horse Inn to modernize and potentially double the amount of work force housing it offers have drawn preliminary interest from a diverse group of potential developers.

City of Steamboat Springs Purchasing/Contracts and Risk Manager Anne Small said this week that nine entities, some of them already formed into teams, have responded to the city's request for qualifications of interested parties.

Interim City Manager Wendy DuBord said the next step is to form a committee of city staff and citizens to evaluate the interested parties and select four or five to go to the next step and provide a vision for the property. She told Steamboat Today in early July that the city would seek opinions on how to make the most of the site along the Yampa River Core Trail when the table is cleared and the existing motel is razed.

The city purchased the Iron Horse Inn late in 2007 for $4.05 million with the intent of managing the existing 52 units to provide employee housing. DuBord said the site already has ample parking. She is optimistic that with more vertical development it has the potential to offer as many as 100 units.

The list of developers responding to the request for qualifications includes local businesses and Front Range companies - some that have teamed with Steamboat firms in the development industry.

Unidev, which is consulting on the affordable housing component of the Steamboat 700 development in the West of Steamboat, has associated itself with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority for the purpose of being considered for the Iron Horse project.

Unidev's Peter Smirniotopoulos told Steamboat Today in June that the affordable housing demand analysis being undertaken by the city is the most important step it has taken toward providing the appropriate housing products in the region.

His company has collaborated on housing projects at Columbia University and the University of California-Berkley.

Denver developer Corum Real Estate Group, with offices in Edwards, has submitted its qualifications along with Patten Associates of Steamboat Springs and DTJ Designs of Boulder.

"Corum is extremely seasoned in this type of affordable housing in resort communities," Patten said, "and it would be fun to work with DTJ."

DTJ designed Garden Crossing in Boulder, where 38 percent of the homes are permanently affordable.

Steamboat architects and developers Vertical Arts and K&K Builders, together with Beaudin Ganze and Powerhousing Real Estate, have submitted their qualifications, as has Steamboat builder Marc Fraioli with John Jugel.

Coburn Development, which is working with nonprofit Boulder Housing Partners on Boulder Mobile Manor, is also in the mix. The project is transforming a longstanding mobile home park into an affordable neighborhood of single-family homes. It is intended to house many of the original residents.

Mgl Partners associated with Oz Architecture and Calcon Constructors to submit its qualifications. Oz and Calcon are working on some of the largest projects under way in Steamboat.

Others who have submitted their qualifications include Medici Communities and Archdiocesan Housing, and Theodore K. Guy Associates with Elmore Co.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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