Steamboat Springs Bear Claw condominium owners are looking beyond the current real estate market and planning twin developments of their own.
The homeowners associations for the ski-in/ski-out condominiums at Bear Claw I and Bear Claw II have entered the city planning process with development permit applications for a pair of luxury duplex buildings and an addition of four condominiums. However, the developers feel no urgency to build.
“I think we’ll take our time with it,” Joe Brennan said. “We’re not suggesting we have to do it this summer.”
Brennan is the longtime president of the Bear Claw II HOA and has seen many changes at the development since Bear Claw I was built in 1972. There are 16 condos in Bear Claw I and 51 in Bear Claw II.
Within the past several years, the neighborhood was transformed when the high-end Edgemont Ridge building was built immediately to the east on a development site that was formerly planned for the third phase of Bear Claw, which was never built.
Brennan, together with Barbara Cannizzo and Michael Cannizzo, sold the Bear Claw III site to Edgemont developer, Atira Group, for $25 million in September 2004.
Brennan said the arrival of Edgemont and the multimillion-dollar condominiums it has sold, along with other private and public improvements to the base area, represent opportunity and challenge for the owners.
“There are benefits both ways,” he said. “The Bear Claw owners want to be a part of the base area improvements, and everything they do” helps to generate new property tax increment to help underwrite the cost of public infrastructure improvements.
“Our owners have pledged significant resources to upgrading Bear Claw. We just redid the pool, we’re installing new landscaping, we remodeled the lobby, paneled the hallways and installed energy-efficient lighting.”
Individual owners have remodeled the interiors of their condos to keep up with the finish levels in new projects such as Edgemont.
Bear Claw owners also have been affected by the widening of the ski area’s Headwall Trail several years ago, which claimed 30-year-old trees, as well as by the construction of Edgemont. Although they’ve reinvested in their project, they’ve also been looking for ways to recoup that investment, Brennan said.
The two Bear Claw projects originally were submitted as a single development permit application, City Planner Seth Lorson said. Because the combined proposals exceeded the number of allowable requests for variances, Lorson said, he recommended that they be split into two proposals. He explained that applications that come with more than two variance requests must go through the planned unit development process that requires the developers to provide additional public benefit.
Bear Claw is seeking variances from lot line setbacks required in the community development code. The condo and duplex projects were resubmitted this month as separate permit applications.
The Bear Claw I proposal would add four condominiums stacked on top of one another on the east side of the building on Ski Trail Lane. The site is less than 150 feet from the midway station of the Christie Peak Express chairlift.
The second project would create two large duplex buildings on a steep grade in front of Bear Claw II. The site is at the corner of Ski Trail Lane and the entrance to Edgemont. The four new condominiums would be a two-bedroom unit, a two-bedroom-plus-den unit and a pair of three-bedroom units, architect Scott Nunnery, of Eric Smith Associates, wrote in a memo to the Planning Department.
Nunnery added that the duplex buildings would be set into a south-facing slope and stepped into a hill so two stories would be visible on the north elevations and two and three stories plus basement to the south.
He said the buildings would be similar in scale and mass to the planned duplexes that are part of the overall Edgemont project but that they would have a distinct appearance in architectural detail and coloring.
Lorson said he and the developers are in early discussions about the details of the two projects, and no public hearing dates have been set.