Julia A. Chapman, MD: Grow cautiously

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— As an outsider, within the first few hours of being here, I got an uncomfortable sense of unbridled growth without regard for historical conservation or community preservation.

Instead, as I walked down Seventh Street and along Yampa Street, passing Howelsen Place and a TCD development along Fifth Street, I noted no congruency with the surrounding landscape or structures.

I predict what is coming. Over time, the occupants in the $700,000-plus condos will be complaining about the trees along the river blocking their view and the train being too loud and above all else, "the rodeo has got to go." Quickly, gone from downtown are the small individual shops such as The Steaming Bean, Zing and the small bookstores, to be replaced by a Starbucks on every corner, The Gap and Barnes & Noble.

Certainly my feeling was reinforced as I read two articles in Steamboat Today. The first, "Apartment not up to code" (June 20), was on the unwarranted death of Mr. David Engle. City Council President Loui Antonucci showed an extreme lack of leadership with his response that "illegal secondary units : is one of the ways : cope with lack of affordable housing." According to Antonucci, Mr. Engle's death is not sufficient enough to revisit this issue. Wow.

The second article, "A tall order" (June 28), was on the desires of Gamir/Reilly Development to bypass existing codes for building height and proximity to the water. Based on the lack of a firm rejection of GRD's wishes by the Planning Commission and the amount of building that is going on along the base of the mountain, I can only suppose that GRD will get its way.

Eventually, this small mountain community will be gone, replaced by a bonanza of unsold, gaudy condos (is even the mountain immune from a potential 11-story building?), while the City Council quickly and quietly dismantles all that was charming and great. Eventually, the wealthy clientele - the ones the City Council is so assiduously courting - will look around and see nothing that is unique or different from any other overcrowded planned recreational community. They will move on; unfortunately it will be left to the locals to clean up the mess of a vast swath of underutilized buildings that have destroyed their once-pristine mountain town.

Julia A. Chapman, MD

Overland Park, Kan.

Comments

steamvent 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, it is a hardship living in Steamboat, but then, you could live in KANSAS!

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stmbtprof 6 years, 3 months ago

well said dr. chapman...unfortunately the real Steamboat vanished completely over 15 years ago when it was really discovered and the aspenizing and californication began....it is very sad and you are so correct....as is snowbow..anyone who disagrees must be either a greedy merchant, developer or an elitist snob....it is the old..isnt his great lets move here and then oh but his has to change or go or wouldnt it be nice if we had.....fillin the blank..instead

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boat 6 years, 3 months ago

Dr. Chapman has gotten it right. Those of us in this valley who do not make their living on real estate specualtion and who are as upset by Dr. Chapman about the excess of Steamboat's never ending real estate machine, will soon be able to say, "We told you so." The real estate bust is here!!! The bus has reached the top of the mountain, the brakes have failed, but no one realizes it yet. The next 3 years will no longer have Tom Ross,{a great writer, who has sold his soul to the hype machine} praising 10,000 sq ft Marabou homes or $1 million Silver Spur homes. Instead, Tom will be reporting on the vacant buildings on Lincoln Ave, the empty, undeveloped Ski Time Square, and the hundreds of unsold, overpriced townhomes littered throughout the Valley. While everyone was thinking the sale of the Ski Area had heralded a new Steamboat , the world of finance was taking a MAJOR hit. Buyers of second homes are the ones hardest hit by the chaos that is now the world of finance. As with all financial disasters, hardly anyone sees it coming as they greedily rush to all contribute to the formation of a GIANT speculative bubble. This year's 4th of July fireworks show is very indicative of Steamboat's current real estate market. Overhyped !! We will all pay the price of the greed of the real estate machine that has fueled this incredible speculative bubble.

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seeuski 6 years, 3 months ago

New headline: Free Market System Upsets A Few!

Or

Steamboat According to The Good Doctor!

Hey Boat, The so called speculative bubble you describe is nuts. The market over the last few years for properties was a demand that far exceeded the supply. The market is in a down cycle for now but the demand will return even stronger as more Americans are entering the retirement age(baby boomers). If the Doctor and those that agree want to keep others from buying homes here or developing their properties then you should just call for a full Gov't socialization of Steamboat and have the few dictate to the masses. That will certainly stop any more modernization of such quality properties as was the EMPTY and delapidated Harbor Hotel and the dark, dreary and caving in floors of the old ski time square properties. But go ahead and enjoy the CHARDONNET you are all sharing.

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vanguy 6 years, 3 months ago

Not everyone in Steamboat thinks the sky is falling. Some of us are pretty excited about the changes.

Downtown Steamboat, in terms of dining, retail, and nightlife, has been pretty stagnant for 4 or 5 years.

I can't wait to have a few new restaurants, a live music venue, and some new places to buy Christmas presents for my family.

All the arts and culture stuff isn't half bad either. I personally would never pay $5000 for some random painting, but I do enjoy looking at it on display all over town.

Besides, I thought I read that most of the retail space was already filled in all these downtown projects??

And for all of you "the bubble is bursting" folks, our market isn't as bad as you think.

2007 was an "out-of-the-ordinary" year for real estate. Take a look at 2006, 2005, or 2004, and you'll notice that current activity is on par with previous years other than 2007.

We should all be thankful the 2007 market madness has gone away.

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boat 6 years, 3 months ago

Seeuski,

I am a HUGE fan of the free market system. The differenece between you and me is in our separate appraisals of the actual demand and available credit in the system. While you are an obvious fan of rapid development, I am a fan of prudent, nonspecualtive development. There is no need to take offense on your part. The reality of the situation will unfold over the next 3 years. Please be aware that any knowledgeable student of "baby boomer" demographics will tell you that as the baby boomers reach retirement age they cut back on their investments and are more worried about curent income and looming expenses of retirement. The peak in baby boomer real etstate acquistion has already occurred. Steamboat is not immune from the realities of the economic world. Sorry the real facts upset your day. Peace out!!!

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freshair 6 years, 3 months ago

Boat...'I am a fan of prudent, nonspecualtive development.'

Then, pray tell, what the heck are you doing in this town which has been, and continues to be, fueled by stratospheric speculative investment?????

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housepoor 6 years, 3 months ago

Not sure if the skying falling but there is no doubt it will be a long time before we see real estate prices actually increase. The banks are no longer interested in loaning $$, especially on investment property or second homes, regardless of your credit rating or financial standing. And I don't see that changing anytime soon, if anything I see interest rates north a 7.5% by end of the year. The demand was high and money was cheapeasy. I always thought things were going up too fast but every agent(we all know a lot of them) I spoke with said we live in a "Lifestyle Community" and are immune. The potential second home buyer from Cali has just seen his equity decrease by 25%, i don't think they are in the mood to buy a condo anywhere..............

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another_local 6 years, 3 months ago

Entertaining to read this stuff. Those who think prices are heading south must not get out much. Steamboat is still a moderately priced market compared to the other resorts out there. Prices going sideways for a year or maybe two is very likely. Price declines from the absolute peak are also possible, but you will not see prices below where they were at the end of 2006.

What we have is a slow down, not a decline and that is as much tied to lending as it is to anything else.

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boat 6 years, 3 months ago

Freshair,

I've been here for a LONG time. The last speculative real estate bubble in Steamboat topped out in the early '80's. If you were fortunate enough to be in a position to buy when prices are falling as developers and sellers are forced out of real estate they can not hold on to, then you win. However, buying in a falling market is not what most people feel comfotable doing. As with most things in life, human beings like to follow the herd and do what the majority of their neighbors are doing. I still think Steamboat is a wonderful place to live. I am also a realist , who can see that fair value no longer exists in our real estate market. While most real estate in Steamboat is priced far above what true locals can afford, the current surplus of resort real estate is priced at levels that don't offer value to any investor. The Free Market is a wonderful mechanism. Eventually all the available real estate will have to be sold. The only available means to accomplish these sales will be lower prices. Astute investors with patience , cash, and intestintal fortitude will be the winners. The developers , just like the ones who lost out at the peak in the '80's, will be the losers. Its real simple. But hard to swallow for those long too much real estate . Don't shoot the messenger.

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freshair 6 years, 3 months ago

The market is not falling here. Prices continue to rise. I've been here since 1970 and the direction has been up every year. In a down market and economy, certain luxury segments continue to thrive. There is plenty of cash out there to continue the building frenzy in this town.

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housepoor 6 years, 3 months ago

fresh air.......realtor? i hope your right, I folllow the market pretty closely and at maybe 20 closings a week we have over a 2+ year inventory, no place to go but down

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colobob 6 years, 3 months ago

Here's another who shares Dr. Chapman's point of view!

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 3 months ago

This forum cracks me up. Some days we have people complaining that prices are too high and they can't afford to live here.

Another day we have people saying "the sky is falling and prices are coming down". Well good! Let em rise, let em fall. Buyers will pick their entry points. Sellers will choose to leave town!

My gut says the people complaining that prices are coming down are those that were simply speculating anyway. Go ahead dump your condo and lock in your profits now. Maybe I'll pick it up and ride the next wave.

As far as the lady from Kansas goes. Well she's from Kansas. Not much more to say there.

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seeuski 6 years, 3 months ago

boat, You actually sound very jealous as if you sat on your hands during the last few years.A little mad as the market passed you by while you waited for the inevitable slowdown that occurs whenever there is change in Administrations. I refer to your previous post! "Dr. Chapman has gotten it right. Those of us in this valley who do not make their living on real estate specualtion and who are as upset by Dr. Chapman about the excess of Steamboat's never ending real estate machine, will soon be able to say, "We told you so." The real estate bust is here!!!"

You are a doom and gloom lover so enjoy it while it lasts but the market will cycle back and then, I'll have told YOU so.

Peace out baby!!!!

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boat 6 years, 3 months ago

Seeuski,

Your guess is wrong. I'm not mad or jealous. Just sorry to see excessive speculation by all the developers chasing each other to bring so many large projects on line as the market peaked a year ago. Speculation helps no one. Just be patient, and if you really want a brand new shiney resort property in steamboat, you will have a chance to buy one at a 20-30% in the next few years. Please open your eyes to the debacle that is hitting the world's financial system. Steamboat is just starting to see that they too are part of a much bigger problem that is hitting real estate investors worldwide. Just remember none of these comments are meant to be personal.

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seeuski 6 years, 3 months ago

boat, I am willing to guarantee you will not buy at 20-30 cents on the dollar. Also, developers that are involved in the upgrades to the Boat infrastructure have done these types of things before and are not speculating. One Steamboat place is all but sold out, Edgemont had a great amount of sales a few weeks ago for being in a market like we are and Cafritz will carefully build a beautiful new square that will be in high demand and sell very well. Certainly there is alot less activity than anticipated but the Steamboat market is unique and desirable and the baby boomers who are looking for a place to retire will be buying. As long as outside factors like terrorism or huge tax hikes don't occur we will be back strong in a year or 2. I would describe my view as realistic and yours as the sky has fallen and it can't get up. Nothing personal.

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housepoor 6 years, 3 months ago

seeuski, i think he was saying a 25-30% drop in prices not 30 cents on the dollar

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Aspengold 6 years, 3 months ago

Dr. Chapman, thank you for your letter. There are those of us here who care very deeply about what is happening to our community.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 3 months ago

So what if we have a 30% drop in prices. Then maybe that would get the socialists in our government out of the development business.

If prices drop by that much I'm am in! Bring it!

Oh and to the poster that says nobody wins with speculation I beg to differ. There are those making millions, those making hundreds of thousands, and those putting food on the table and paying rent. Don't be foolish. Sure there will be some caught with their pants down. So be it. They deserve it and savy buyers will step in to suck up their losses! WOO! HOO!

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seeuski 6 years, 3 months ago

that is the free market at it's best native.

housepoor, Here are the words from boat,"you will have a chance to buy one at a 20-30% in the next few years." That seems to me to mean what it says. I will except that prices may come down 20 to 30% on some properties but not the new ones. There are plenty of seventies vintage that did go well over value last year and they are the ones dropping back to 2006 prices.

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seeuski 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and what an amazing Wimbeldon final today.WOW!

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boat 6 years, 3 months ago

Seeuski, 20-30% discount to current prices. not 20 -30 cents on the dollar. I'm not that bearish! While Steamboat may have special circumstances vs. other resorts. The true problem is in the complete meltdown in the banking and mortgage industry worldwide. We are just beginning to feel the effects. The once mighty Fortress Group has not even clarified how badly they have been hit by the complete unraveling of the once mighty private equity business. The Cafritz Group is not doing anything fast as long as Fortress is silent. Just notice that Fortress is not spending vast quantities at the Ski area this summer. Until Fortress comes out and says that they are just as strong as they were a year ago , don't count on anything happening in ski time square for years to come. Great wimbledon! Federer will not win another major.

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seeuski 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow I wouldn't go that far boat, you are wrong again there is no way Federer will go silent and the total meltdown of the Banking industry is a bit overblown. It is a little early to close the book on what Intrawest does this summer, the biggest of which would be the rebuild of the four points hut. As far as Cafritz, they are in the process of design and approval and that is as long as 2 years. Ski Time Square will be in some form of construction for the next 3 to 5 years I would estimate. But during that time we will have the new retail area at One Steamboat and skiing into Slopeside will be the same. A little pain for a while will payoff down the road.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 3 months ago

I believe up to 30 % of the contracts on these big projects are flippers either Realtors or citizens, ie Realtor friends, but contracted to flip at a profit when finished. These contracts will more than likely need to be closed and paid up by the flipper, no more simultaneous closes, the buyer pool is getting patient if not smart and is going to put the heat on price increases, nobody is going to do a lateral flip. That lady Realtor advertising flips is going to have some "splainin" to do, regarding these $10-30 K deposits that will be lost I personally am always looking for the slowest builder in town..........

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twostroketerror 6 years, 3 months ago

To quote a friend in town for a funeral (He hasn't been here for 15 yrs) "Wow, you guys really f****d this place up!"

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freshair 6 years, 3 months ago

'To quote a friend in town for a funeral (He hasn't been here for 15 yrs) "Wow, you guys really f****d this place up!"'

Your friend suffers from an inability to understand the Big Picture. Anyplace where you can leave city life behind and be smack in the middle of Nature's wonderful creation in 10-15 minutes is the furthest thing from being f****d up.

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seeuski 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow, What would you expect after staying away for 15 yrs?no changes?

I guess he loved this place so much he couldn't wait to get back, thank him for the positive feedback.

Tell your friend just wait till he comes back in 2023.

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Dudes, "s - p - e - c - u - l - a - t - i o - n" is not a 4-letter word. It just means building in anticipation of continuing demand. It's why the Budweiser brewery makes big batches of beer and why they smoke so much brisket at the Smokehouse. Cause they know folks are gonna want it when it's done!

The 'Boat is always gonna be the 'Boat but it won't always be the old 'Boat. The 'Boat is gonna be all right and everybody is gonna get to enjoy the fresh air, the trails, the easy on the eyes scenery, the fishin' and the good chow.

Indoor plumbing, the Internet and the evolving 'Boat --- all good thangs, brothers. All freakin' good! Enjoy cause you are already in paradise, babe!

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Steve Shelesky 6 years, 3 months ago

With all due respect, the Dr. is wrong. The broad upgrade that is underway is actually being handled with a fair amount of sensitivity by the development community. Although we all pine for the past --let's admit, there was a significant amount of shoddy stuff developed in the past --none of which really add to the historic fiber or charm of the Boat. Steamboat has great bones --good people, an awesome valley, huge wilderness areas, authenticity and a cool river. Look at the conservation zoning that is being embraced --pretty impressive. Give it 5 yrs -- this place will be something to be proud of -- it may be growing, but this chapter of growth has raised the bar on quality -- and it is well executed, given the sheer amount of activity.

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