A Quiksilver retail store will move from Old Town Square to this corner location in Howelsen Place. A real estate office for the mixed-use development will open down the sidewalk, where people look into windows Wednesday.

Photo by John F. Russell

A Quiksilver retail store will move from Old Town Square to this corner location in Howelsen Place. A real estate office for the mixed-use development will open down the sidewalk, where people look into windows Wednesday.

Downtown Steamboat businesses shuffle near Seventh Street

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— Tuesday night’s approval of a real estate office on Lincoln Avenue near Seventh Street was part of a chain reaction of businesses preparing to shuffle locations at Howelsen Place and Old Town Square.

“Throw a deck of cards in the air and see where they fall, I guess,” Tracy Barnett of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs said Wednesday in her Howelsen Place office, which is in the corner location at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Barnett said she’ll be moving out of that spot Monday, transferring Mainstreet operations to the Yampa Street building between Sunpie’s Bistro and Sweetwater Grill where Barnett had her office about four years ago.

Mark Scully, managing director of Howelsen Place developers Green Courte Partners, said the real estate sales office for Howelsen Place and Alpen Glow — its sister development at Sixth Street — will be moving out of the Howelsen Place corner location by April 1. The real estate office will move one unit over in Howelsen Place to a location with Lincoln Avenue frontage.

That will clear the way for Quik­­silver to refurbish the corner location’s interior in preparation for an opening there that local business owner Linda Cullen said could happen June 1.

Cullen said while some aspects of the situation remain fluid, she’s planning to move her two snowboard-style, youth-oriented clothing and gear stores — Quiksilver and The DC Store — across Seventh Street from Old Town Square to the corner Howelsen Place location. The new Quiksilver store likely will also offer DC brands, in what Cullen said could be a “store-in-a-store” format.

She said representatives from Quiksilver’s California headquarters will participate in the design of the new downtown Steamboat store.

“It’ll be one of their newer concepts,” Cullen said. “It’s kind of a surprise for us, too, at this point.”

Her son, Derek Cullen, is operations manager for The DC Store and Quiksilver locations in Old Town Square. He said the new Howelsen Place location would focus more heavily on skateboarding and snowboarding apparel and equipment.

That could set up a skateboarding retail center on Seventh Street. A few doors down from Howelsen Place’s corner location, Urbane co-owner Trent Kolste said the streetwear store is expanding its four-wheeled inventory.

“We’re definitely blowing up our skateboards,” Kolste said Wednesday, citing strong sales since The Click closed in Central Park Plaza. “We’ve got big plans for skateboarding this year.”

Amid all the business shuffling, the move of Howelsen Place’s real estate office drew questions from Steamboat Springs City Council members Tuesday night in Centennial Hall.

Councilwoman Meg Bentley said the addition of another real estate office with frontage on downtown’s main drag could “erode the Lincoln Avenue experience.”

City planner Seth Lorson said planning staff had a lot of discussion about “whether this is a slippery slope,” but decided to recommend approval of a real estate office in that location as a conditional use, provided it is only for first-time sales of Howelsen Place and Alpen Glow units.

“To be able to sell those properties upstairs, you really need a street-front presence,” Lorson told City Council. “That use will extinguish itself after a certain amount of time.”

City Council approved the office’s development plan and location in a 6-0 vote. Councilman Scott Myller was absent Tuesday.

Bentley said her support occurred despite “a fight with myself over the past couple of days.”

“I guess I’m just going to put everybody on notice that I’m watching,” she said.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Tracy Barnett 3 years, 9 months ago

I think that adding an exclusive real estate office that deals with only the first time sales of a new development is an appropriate temporary use. While it is true that having a string of general sales real estate offices on the main drag could detract from the shopping experience, having a very limited number can pique the interest of potential buyers as they get a feel for what Steamboat has to offer. A real estate office is sort of a retail outlet, while having an insurance office or an accountant's office, for example, could break up the retail flow. The key here, for this particular use, is that it is temporary and will return to a true retail use when sales of the condos is complete.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Tracy, Except that there are always enough new developments or major redevelopments that one could use that standard to justify a whole number of real estate offices. The more realistic standard is to monitor vacancies and not allow real estate offices to occupy spaces that would otherwise have retail businesses. And to be willing to tell real estate offices that they may need to share space along Lincoln.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

OMG Sounds to me like more of the same... would-be Napoleons picking winners and losers. Which "limited number" will be favored and granted "Lincoln Av" status? Which will not? This kind of stuff is bad business. Either any and all real estate offices are allowed or they are all prohibited; either drugstores are allowed or they are not, etc.

Does anyone else see how this whole approach is all but assured to be corrupt at some point if not at ALL points?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Sledneck, Well, the question is actually whether an office, in particular a real estate office, is going to be allowed in a retail/restaurant district. It is not whether this or that type of retail or restaurant is going to be allowed.

And the question for allowing offices has to take into consideration that vacancies do not good either to a retail district.

So it does make sense to allow a real estate office to move into a vacant space for a limited time. When retail activity is stronger and there is a lack of vacancies then new offices should not be allowed.

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exduffer 3 years, 9 months ago

The Mall of America use to have a policy (they may still) of not having an empty store front. They had a whole wharehouse full of t-shirts, sunglasses and trinkets and when a store moved out they just filled and staffed it themselves. Seeing as we have a whole wharehouse worth of out of work real estate people this seems like a smart idea.

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hereandthere 3 years, 9 months ago

I believe Chris Ward is looking for a retail space. Of course the would-be Napoleans could not find that acceptable, now would they.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

It'd make more sense for Chris to take on the Iron Horse as a dispensary and grow facility. Though, I'd have no problems if he or RMR wanted to relocate downtown.

If you accept the concept of retail spaces and people going to one store then deciding to stop at others then MainStreet SB should be trying to bring RMR to downtown. They are certainly busy enough to justify a better location and it would be much more convenient for all of those people with medical conditions to get their legal medication from a downtown dispensary.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

I realize that there may not be a choice but another real estate store front makes Lincoln Ave look pretty desperate. Just sayin.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

an adult toy store downtown would do well. Hopefully they could be open 24 hrs with a drive up window.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

I understand the notion of filling retail space for appearance and that makes sense. However, my point was a much larger one which is that it is not the role of government to see that retail space is filled, nor to referee between Lyons Drugstore and Walgreens, etc. Rather, it is to provide an environment in which business can thrive not by providing one certain business with favors but by providing all businnesses with the one thing that is essential for their success... predictability.

To quote the great Supreme Court Justice Oliver W. Holmes, my job is " to see that the game is played according to the rules whether I like the rules or not." As he explained, the law exists for the citizens, not for the lawyers or judges (or in this case City Council), and the citizens had to know what the rules were, in order to obey them. We need a playbook which could have been read in advance of City Council's decision. A playbook so clear if not simple that it would have caused most, if not all who read it to be able to accurately predict the decision Council would take.

To have zoning decisions and property use decisions taken on any REGULAR basis by a case-by-case method invites corruption and cronyism in government and is a recipie for confusion and frustration in business as well as in the general public.

Besides, maybe if there were not so many bogus rules and ridiculous hurdles to doing business in this town the space would already be filled... hmmm?

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vanguy 3 years, 9 months ago

The community development code permits an onsite sales office for a developer to sell real estate within their project for a period of up to one year. This timeline was most likely established by the notion that the developer would either (1) sell-out of units or (2) move into a model unit after the first year.

Projects like Eagle Ridge Lodge, Chadwick Estates, the Villas all had onsite sales centers that consisted of a temporary construction trailer, offering little, if any, vitality or aesthetics for their surrounding neighbors. Realistically speaking, the design of the Howelsen Place mixed-use project really doesn't cater to allowing walk-in traffic to a model unit, as it would most certainly compromise the security for the people who live there. (yes, people actually LIVE at Howelsen Place)

The real estate sales office at Howelsen Place is, by contrast to the typical temporary trailer, a vibrant and welcoming environment. They display a ton of great information about our community and our history, and their sales team has been sincere ambassadors for downtown Steamboat to anyone who passes through their doors, even if they have no real interest in real estate. They are always willing to offer people a warm place to get out of the elements, directions for visitors, and they have generously shared their space for a variety of community resources & events: Main Street has operated rent-free since they opened the first sales center, Tread of Pioneers has been able to display a variety of their materials, they hosted the Olympic Sendoff and the Wine Festival, just to name a few.

And as for the Quicksilver move, this has been expected for years, so if their old space sits vacant this summer, shame on the old landlord for a lousy effort to fill the vacancy that they have been anticipating for more than 18 months. This is going to be an awesome retailer for the most visible corner of downtown Steamboat.

Whether you like or dislike the mixed use projects downtown, whether you side with the Ghost Ranch or the Developer, the condos are built, they're here to stay, and having them dark, empty, and unsold is a huge disservice to anyone with a vested interest in downtown Steamboat Springs. That's why a developer's real estate office makes sense on Lincoln Avenue.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

What were the challenges imposed by the city for DC Store and Quiksilver? None as I could tell because they are retail in a retail district. No hints of there being any discussion of how many ski stores should be downtown or anything like that.

No, the only issue that a real estate office is not an use by right for downtown retail district, but it was considered acceptable in this case.

The issue with Walgreens was the building, not that it would compete with Lyons. Lyons came up in that discussion only because there were claimed economic benefits of Walgreens that could be used to justify making exceptions to the rules regarding the building.

As for the condos downtown, if their owners expect decibel levels of a residential neighborhood then those units being occupied would hinder having a vibrant downtown.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

It was considered acceptable in this case. If the owner had been someone who did not support current Council members would it have been considered acceptable? If he/she was black or hispanic or libertarian would they have been accomodated? If the time frame was different would it have been acceptable? If it was not a use by right why was it granted? Whats the point? You can do whatever you want in this town if you take your "special" case to Council. They will approve your "special" case on what grounds? WHO you are. WHAT you did. WHO you know. WHO you golf with. WHAT you intend vs their desires.

What is the criteria for getting something done here???????????????? Nobody can give me a straight answer that doesn't involve the possibility of special treatment. That is my concern.

I'm not saying anything wrong happened here. I am saying that if this method of decision making continues MUCH wrong will happen.

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snowysteamboat 3 years, 9 months ago

sledneck-

you have no idea what so ever what you are talking about. I would suggest a remedial course in zoning and land use regulations that the planning department would be happy to provide you but that would take effort on your part.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

I guess that's possible, that I need a remedial course in zoning. I have only been thru the process on 6 parcels of land.

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jerry carlton 3 years, 9 months ago

I have lived in 10 cities and towns in five states and this is the most regulated area I have ever lived in.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Land use guidance, special use permits, conditional use permits, re-zoning and other euphamistic descriptions of local governments doing me favors or refusing to do me favors based on NO CONSISTENT FORMULA.

jlc, You have said several times that you feel more regulated here than ever. Are the regulations here a good thing or not, in your opinion?

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jerry carlton 3 years, 9 months ago

Some regulations are good and required such as speed limits. Micro-managing the appearance of buildings and what businesses can go into a building is in my opinion unamerican. It smacks of the Federal Government which now wants to take over every aspect of our lives. My opinion only.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Sad but true. Lots of little would-be Napoleons out there.

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