Steamboat Springs City Council OKs base area work

Members approve spending $2.5 million while refinancing negotiations continue

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— Redevelopment work at the base of Steamboat Ski Area has a green light to occur this summer.

All seven members of the Steamboat Springs City Council, acting as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority, voted Tuesday night to allow $2.5 million in spending for work that can begin as soon as crews are in place. The vote revives construction plans that were stalled last month by a contentious bid process and a default notice from U.S. Bank. That notice put perceptions of the project’s financing on shaky ground and spurred a flurry of negotiations between city staff and bank officials. Those negotiations are continuing and could result in a new deal, new lender or refinancing of the city’s $17.5 million redevelopment loan. A new financing agreement could release additional funds later this summer for further base area work.

“Based upon the now three different lending institutions we’ve spoken to … we would have an expectation that certainly we will know very soon about going ahead with the (new) financing,” City Manager Jon Roberts said Tuesday.

The decision to move forward with construction brought smiles to the faces of several base area stakeholders, who Tuesday night made their largest public appearance since the construction process faltered.

Lance Thompson, of Timbers Resorts, the developers of One Steamboat Place, cited the “significant investment” their company already has made in snowmelt systems and other public amenities that largely were based, he said, on plans for the public promenade that’s an end goal of this summer’s work.

Thompson said doubts about that work have factored into discussions at One Steamboat Place.

“We have owners that are about to close, and one of the big questions we get is ‘What’s the progress?’” he said. “The perception is that what happens tonight will really determine the tone for the next couple of years at the base area.”

Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., also supported City Coun­cil’s decision.

“We’re advancing the ball,” Diamond said.

Last month, the city awarded a contract of about $4.5 million to Duckels Construction for work to ultimately build part of a public promenade at the immediate ski base, daylight a segment of Burgess Creek and install other public amenities such as seating areas, fire features and stonework.

U.S. Bank removed default conditions on the loan in a deal reached May 6. The deal allowed the immediate use of $2.5 million, provided that the remainder of this year’s funds, also about $2.5 million, be held in a construction account.

With that figure in mind, the Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee voted last week to support a $2.2 million construction plan that includes earthwork and utility work but few public amenities. That plan allows for easy transition into further construction as opposed to a $2.4 million plan that would create a more finished product but would require some backtracking and additional costs to continue work at a later date.

City Council did not select either of those plans Tuesday saying simply that work at this point cannot exceed $2.5 million. Roberts said that ruling provides flexibility to finalize this summer’s scope of work in coming weeks when the financial situation is clearer.

Redevelopment coordinator Joe Kracum and Derick Duckels, of Duckels Construction, said Tuesday that they can move forward under that ruling because earthwork and utility preparation are the first steps in any scenario.

“They’re basically the first couple of months,” Kracum said about the various work plans.

Duckels said even without additional funding this summer, he’s confident his crews could complete the project next summer if funding becomes available in that time.

Kracum said utility work could begin next week. Duckels said that timeline was a little optimistic because he has to mobilize crews and plans that were at a standstill.

“It’s like we’re starting from a stop point,” he said.

The delay in starting the project did not cause him to lose a significant amount of subcontractors or crews — if any — to other jobs, Duckels said.

“In today’s environment, anybody’s happy to get any work they can get,” Duckels said.

He previously has said that counting subcontractors and other crews, about 200 workers could be involved in base area work this summer.

Standing outside Centennial Hall after City Council’s decision, Duckels smiled in relief.

“It’s been stressful,” he said about the project’s contentious past few weeks. “I wouldn’t want to do it again.”

Comments

steamboatsprings 4 years, 3 months ago

Excellent work council. A vibrant and more accessible base area will help Steamboat in many regards.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 3 months ago

The money better be there or this city council is going to be swept out of office like the Iron Horse gang.

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cindy constantine 4 years, 3 months ago

Until we have additional economic drivers in the community we have to support our major employer whose success affects so many other business/restaurants and lodging (jobs) in this community. Locals/second homeowners/guests have complained about the base area long before STS was even torn down. In this competitive arena for attracting skiers to your mountain, I feel just the appearance of moving forward (even though the work is non-visible this summer) will be a positive. But no forward movement will continue to have a detrimental affect on advertising a "first class ski destination". If what I heard is correct, that skier days numbered an abysmal 650,000 this past winter, we have to move forward despite the perceived risk. I can see plenty of other places Council needs to make cuts before delaying base area work any further. Good job on this tough decision, Council.

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Tracy Barnett 4 years, 3 months ago

A completed and vibrant ski base area is imperative to the success of ALLbusiness in Steamboat Springs. Even the dentists and insurance agents in this town rely on the money generated by our tourist business, maybe not directly but certainly indirectly. The longer the base area looks like a demolition zone, the more the tourists will stay away. We need active public space, interesting shops and restaurants, and a critical mass of experiences to fulfill the expensive vacation expectations. An evening in the condo is not what they come here for. Get 'er done! ASAP!

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 3 months ago

But what that is now planned to be done this year is going to create a complete and vibrant ski base area?

If that is the goal then next is acquiring the vacant lots via eminent domain so the URAAC can construct what they think is needed?

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insbsdeep 4 years, 3 months ago

Well said Cindy and Tracy. Now we just need Atira to follow thru with STS's temp amenities, since construction isn't a reality anytime in the near future.

My question is how much is ski corp paying for this work, since they will benefit significantly, and who will pay to maintain and heat this space?

Maybe ski corp will step up with a nice bike park on headwall, or a big zip-line / adventure coarse, surfable wavepool, burgess creek will be kayak / tube friendly right, year round fire twirlers, face painters, and musicians. Bakery's, gelato, good bars, late night food, breakfast joints

Seriously it will just be nice to see dirt getting moved.

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jk 4 years, 3 months ago

Burgess creek slows to but a trickle by August, at best it will be a big mosquito hatchery. Daylighting that is the biggest waste of money ever!!!!

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ybul 4 years, 3 months ago

Wait JK, with that amount of money, they can build a pond at the bottom and pump the water back to the top to have a bubbling brook, no matter what the runoff looks like. I was being a little smart with that comment, but then thought you could allow people to ice skate there as that might also be fun for people as the local rink is too busy for that winter activity, also more nostalgic outside.

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jk 4 years, 3 months ago

ybul, I was watching a redbull competion this past weekend where the participants wore hockey gear and skated down a frozen course like skiercross. Maybe we can be the first winter resort with a frozen track of our own?? The insurance may be a little steep, but maybe we can rely on a release waiver??? hhhmmmmm

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John Fielding 4 years, 3 months ago

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Kudos to the Council

While it is certainly not completed with this decision, it is vibrant. What is created is momentum, the knowledge that this resort is moving ahead, creating and advancing.

The fact that this difficulty was experienced and that we chose to move forward despite it all is in a way even more heartening. It demonstrates a laudable level of commitment, one that will be noted by the discerning investor and the returning vacationer..

The ability to utilize meaningful recreational opportunities is one of the factors that keeps people motivated to be highly productive, to work hard so they can play hard.

The venue we offer is as important to modern society as other diversions such as fine art or professional sports. We should be proud of our commitment to excellence.

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