Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.
Find more columns by Douglas here.
Like many Americans, I often root for the underdog.
Lately, given the economic headwinds and increased sniping from a small but vocal group of rabble-rousers seeking to derail any construction in the Yampa Valley, I find myself pulling for the development community to succeed against the odds.
Unfortunately, some of our un-neighborly neighbors in Routt County believe it is their role to assault developers, builders and Realtors verbally and in writing at every opportunity.
Amazingly, these malcontents fire their cheap shots in spite of the hypocrisy of their living on land and prospering from homes and businesses made possible by the very development they loudly protest.
The oft-repeated mantra of these community connivers is this: "Now that I've got my slice of paradise, no one else can live here unless I say so!"
These selfish souls profess that "developers" are performing Satan's handiwork right up until the day arrives when they cut their own deal with the devil to sell or develop their property in search of heavenly dollars. But until they cash in, the word developer is spat from their lips awash in condescending vulgarity.
Case in point.
Last Sunday, the Steamboat Pilot & Today reported that Kim and Peter Kreissig have placed Rollingstone Village - an approved but not yet constructed development off Pine Grove Road - back on the market. As Peter told the Pilot, "We have carried Rollingstone since 2007. Given market conditions, we have no immediate plan to commence building. We can technically continue to carry the land, but with the market rebounding slowly, it just doesn't make good business sense for us to wait it out."
The Kreissigs paid $5.75 million for the property in 2007 and now are asking $6.9 million, which, according to the Kreissigs, will be a loss after deducting costs incurred to date.
The article was greeted on the Pilot's Web forum by the usual real estate development haters spewing their typically shallow insights: "Sounds like all the rest of them. Atira, Timbers, Green Court (sic), 700, 360, Wildhorse. Wanna take bets on who goes down first." "That sure was a commitment. Another fair weather developer bites the dust. $2 1/5 million profit in less than two years? Not too shabby."
When Fred Duckels rose in defense of builders, writing, "You guys had better start rooting for these people," he was met with, "I root for smart people not greedy ones."
But then something I've been waiting a long time for happened. The "greedy, fair-weather developer" decided enough was enough and stood up for her family's business.
Not only did Kim Kreissig confront the know-nothing know-it-alls, she challenged them, writing, "If you are honestly interested in the facts behind our sale of Rollingstone, please call me on my cell phone. : I'll happily share our financials with you and help you understand the numbers involved in bringing a project such as Rollingstone Village to fruition."
Kreissig also wrote that she and her husband operate a small local development firm that, since 1994, has employed local workers and takes pride in the homes they build. In other words, they're invested in this community as a family, as a local developer and as an employer providing opportunities for others to live in our community.
What Kim didn't say, but I will, is that contrary to being "greedy, fair-weather developers," the Kreissigs are no different than many others in the valley who found a place they love and someone to love as they work hard to create a legacy for their family and their community.
Peter started laying tile for other builders in the valley more than 20 years ago, and Kim arrived 18 years ago. They met, married and planted their roots firmly by starting a family. By combining their skills and working hard, the Kreissigs have built a business that they are proud of.
And, contrary to the naysayer-proffered picture of a greedy couple sitting at a desk salivating over stacks of cash, had you wanted to talk to Peter on Thursday afternoon, you'd have found him operating a backhoe while digging a new foundation at Rocky Peak Village - another project the family hopes to make succeed in this most difficult of times.
One last point.
Remember Kim's challenge to the naysayers to call and go over the facts?
The phone remains silent.
To reach Rob Douglas, e-mail Rob.Douglas@Comcast.net