A track hoe razes a house at 655  Yampa St. on Monday. It was one of the last four single-family homes on the street paralleling the Yampa River.

Photo by Tom Ross

A track hoe razes a house at 655 Yampa St. on Monday. It was one of the last four single-family homes on the street paralleling the Yampa River.

Yampa Street home demolished

House bought in 1973 featured 'The Turtle Lounge,' homemade hot tub


Neil Bergman let out a little sigh Monday afternoon as a track hoe unceremoniously lifted the homemade hot tub out of the back deck of his former home at 655 Yampa St.

The house on the Yampa River, which Bergman purchased in 1973 and occupied for 30 years, was demolished by heavy equipment operated by Joe Duksa, of D&D Enterprises.

It was one of four remaining single-family residences on Yampa Street. The neighborhood, primarily commercial, was steadily transformed in the past five years by new development until the national recession struck.

Howard Ulep and Dennis Frank, of Annapolis, Md., developers of The Boathouse Pub, own the property at 655 Yampa, just a block east of the pub. They were issued a development permit in November 2007 to build a mixed-use commercial and residential building on the site, which is directly opposite the south end of Seventh Street.

Ulep could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Senior City Planner Jonathan Spence said the development permit allows the developers until late 2010 to pull a building permit. However, he added that recently, the city has shown a willingness, in some cases, to extend the vesting of approved developments.

The plans for 655 Yampa are notable for an automated automobile elevator to stack residents' cars, and a covered pedestrian concourse leading from the street to a courtyard on the Yampa River. The concourse would pass beneath a residential unit.

The city of Steamboat Springs encouraged the owners to demolish the unoccupied house because it had become a public nuisance.

Bergman's occupancy of the home coincided with his 30-year career in maintenance at Steamboat Springs High School. He sold the house in 2003 and he and his wife, Helen, moved to a home across the river in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

"I said when I moved in there that some day this would be 'Restaurant Row,' and I was going to cash in," Bergman said.

He purchased the former Rodney Guire home for $40,000 and invested considerable sweat equity in the property. Friends helped him add a second story to the building. He converted one garage to a family room he dubbed "The Turtle Lounge," and built a new garage on the other end of the house. He also added a large deck along the river where he installed his hot tub.

There were no hot tub retailers in Steamboat in 1973, Bergman said, so he improvised. He got his hands on a round section of concrete sewer pipe, installed it in a hole in the deck and lined the rim with attractive ceramic tiles.

Bergman was visibly sad to see the demolition of the home in which he had lived for three decades.

"If people knew how much I spent on this. If people knew how much of me I put into this place," he said.


Beavers 7 years, 10 months ago

Another one bites the dust. Welcome to Steamboat, CT.


greenwash 7 years, 10 months ago

These Maryland Doctors have lost so much money on the Boathouse fiasco Id be really surprised to see them continue.An underground garage next to Yampa River...HMMMM sounds really smart.How many vacant properties do you count on Yampa?


sickofitall 7 years, 10 months ago

Im wondering how many burgers it takes to pay it off?


aichempty 7 years, 10 months ago

You guys don't understand how it works.

In real estate, you make more money by losing it. It's a wonderful tax shelter.

Plus, trips to Colorado become tax deductible, even if you ski every day you're in town to "inspect" your property.

Don't feel so sad. Life is not easy for doctors. It's just lived at a more affluent level of stress.


blinger 7 years, 10 months ago

"automated automobile elevator to stack residents' cars" What in the world?? Give me a break!!


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