Evelyn Tarango watches her grandfather, Silvino Cano, shovel snow outside the family home in Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park on Friday. The mobile home park is listed for sale for $3.2 million.

Photo by Tom Ross

Evelyn Tarango watches her grandfather, Silvino Cano, shovel snow outside the family home in Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park on Friday. The mobile home park is listed for sale for $3.2 million.

Sleepy Bear up for sale in Steamboat Springs

Owners want westside mobile home park to remain as is

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— Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park, one of the last of an endangered species in Steamboat Springs, has been listed for sale for $3.2 million. The owners of the westside mobile home park say they are optimistic that a like-minded buyer will keep the neighborhood intact.

“From our point of view, we’ve gotten to know the tenants there and we want it to remain a mobile home park,” Alison Dennis said Friday. She and her husband, Martin, purchased the 6.6-acre park with 54 mobile home lots in July 1996 for $980,000.

“I think whoever might buy it now would be looking at it as an investment,” Dennis said. “We would have a real hard time selling it to someone who just wanted to (do something else with the property).”

Some residents of Sleepy Bear were just hearing the news Friday. Silvino Cano and his daughter, Lluvia, said they have enjoyed living in the neighborhood for the past five years.

“We never have any problems with neighbors,” Lluvia said.

Silvino Cano said he enjoys living on the edge of Steamboat where he can fish in the river.

“Yes, I’m worried. I don’t want it to sell,” he said through his daughter.

Their landlord said she understands.

“I know how this town looks at mobile home parks, but there are some great families there,” Dennis said.

Dennis said she and her husband turned down an offer of more than their current asking price from a prospective buyer in 2008 because they knew he had plans to do something else with the 6.6-acre parcel that is situated between the south side of U.S. Highway 40 and the Yampa River on the city’s far western edge.

The property is immediately west of Ski Town KOA Campground and directly acr­­oss from what would have been the primary entrance to the Steamboat 700 development before Steamboat voters rejected it in March 2010.

Dennis and listing Realtor Mark “Dutch” Elting, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, confirmed they have had extensive conversations with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority about acquiring the mobile home park. The Housing Authority already owns the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park, which generates positive cash flow for the organization.

“They just didn’t have the means to buy it right now,” Dennis said.

Coincidentally, Alison and Martin Dennis resided in Fish Creek and managed it for previous owner Bob Enever for a period of about six years, Alison Dennis said.

Mobile home parks have been under siege in Steamboat for much of the past decade. The affordable housing community helped the residents of Hilltop Trailer Park on Walnut Street purchase their lots to save them from redevelopment in 2000. But Trailer Haven, a small mobile home park at the corner of Third Street and Fish Creek Falls Road, gave way to new tennis courts at Old Town Hot Springs in 2002.

Most recently, the residents of Westland Mobile Home Park were moved out of their downtown homes in 2005-06 to make way for the proposed Riverwalk development, which has yet to launch. With a substantial inventory of downtown luxury condos, the site along the Yampa River could remain vacant for years to come.

Elting said he deliberately priced the Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park so that a cash buyer could achieve an attractive return on their money.

“You have to approach it from a cash flow and capitalization basis,” Elting said. “Anybody with cash right now wants a good return on their money.”

He agreed with his client that the likeliest buyers would hold onto it and maintain the mobile home park at least until the development industry returns to ski towns.

“We’ve had request for packets from local people in the business as well as interest from Internet listings,” Elting said. “Sleepy Bear hasn’t had a vacancy in 15 years. As soon as someone leaves, their spot is taken.”

The mobile home lots are rented on a month-to-month basis, according to listing information for the property. Dennis said monthly lot rental rates vary, but the average is $435. After 15 years of owning Sleepy Bear, she and her husband want to move on to another phase of their lives.

“We’re getting old and it’s a lot of work,” Dennis said. “We love this town and we want to say here.”

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or e-mail tross@SteamboatToday.com

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