Bill Moser: Don't screw it up

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My experience as a real estate broker in Steamboat Springs throughout the past 39 years prompts me to add my 2 cents to the mix regarding the potential sale of the fire and police building to BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger. Fortunately, we have a few employers in our community that provide good-paying jobs to help smooth the seasonality of our hospitality-based economy. They should be treated as a valuable asset. 

One of the prime considerations for evaluating any particular deal is to ask the following question: “If there is any proposed change of use of the property, will it accomplish bringing the property to its highest and best use?”

In the case of the city’s sale of the police and fire building on Yampa Street, this sale and the proposed change of use is relatively simple to evaluate. This particular property has strategic importance to the city as well as to the community in general. This site provides a dramatic view of Howelsen Hill. At night and during the day, it is possibly the very best place to observe skiers. It is located next to the Yampa River, where river action takes place as soon as the snow melts. It is on a tree-lined street that could add ambiance to any commercial use. For me, it takes little imagination to realize the current use is not consistent with the goals of our hospitality/lifestyle-based economy. Conversely, its current use does not contribute to the tax rolls because it is a city-owned property. No sales tax revenue comes out of its current use. 

This property, along with the Yampa Valley Electric Association building, provides the lynchpin to bring Yampa Street to its highest and best use once their owners move to other sites. True, there are questions about the sale price. They are legitimate, and we all can question the value of the property of the police and fire facility. Special-purpose buildings and government buildings are not valued the same way as commercial/retail properties. However, this property has immense strategic value to the city, namely to be able to elevate the entire Yampa Street to its highest and best use. 

I can’t imagine that a lower sale price alleged by some people is valid when weighed against the potential economic benefit that the sale can provide to Yampa Street. Additionally, any new owners or tenants will be paying real estate taxes to the county and sales tax to the city, where none are now collected. 

Possibly, the current real estate sale contract needs to be tweaked. We now have a willing buyer and seller. Let’s not screw this up. 

Bill Moser

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Scott Wedel 1 year, 3 months ago

Biggest problem with the low sales price is that building was not marketed via MLS and it was not commonly known on what terms the building was for sale until it was announced they had a sales contract. That the sales price is at a discount is acknowledged by the sales contract having clawback provisions if sold within 5 years.

The sales price is important because City says it needs to be sold early on the process in order to raise a chunk of the money needed for the replacement buildings. So until the replacement costs are locked down then City could end up lacking the money to build the replacement police and fire stations.

I agree that City should not screw this up. Which is why they should not sell the existing building until they the replacement buildings at least have broken ground.

The fact that City is proposing the rare sequence of moving out of the existing building and into temporary facilities while the new buildings are constructed should be enough of a warning sign of the risks of an early sale. Sure, it is not rare to move into temporary facilities when a building is being remodeled, but it almost never happens when constructing new buildings at new locations.

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 3 months ago

The proponents of this sale, including those on City Council, argue only its positives.

The true lynchpin of this deal, is the $10+ million spend the City is choosing for an emergency campus older councils had "parked" in the City budget. OUCH!

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Fred Duckels 1 year, 3 months ago

We are betting on a phantom upside here but we need more than opinion to sell the deal. We have nothing to take to the bank.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 3 months ago

Steve,

I don't understand why there is the belief that the buyer will be so key to Yampa St because it is simply a modest number of office jobs which is nothing substantially different than it's current use.

If the new owner was proposing putting in something that would be a tourist draw such as a massive aquarium requiring a major investment that also benefits others or convincing Resorts Group to make it their new HQ with tourist check which generates lots of visitor traffic then at least that would be a reasonable discussion of community benefits.

But 40 or so office jobs is nothing special and is awfully similar to the current use.

If BAP needs a million dollar discount on a building to stay in SB then why wasn't Moots offered a similar deal? And so then shouldn't Moots also be asking for city money to stay here? And so on. It makes no sense to offer money to get a business to stay or move here because then every business will ask for similar money. And so quickly enough the businesses with actual connections to the community and have no plans on leaving are placed at a competitive disadvantage to the dilettantes that are always willing to leave.

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John St Pierre 1 year, 3 months ago

  1. The jobs are already here and this is just moving existing pc's on a chess board....

  2. Do you really think that if the city were a developer and brought this project and its pieces with all the loose ends to a bank for financing what do you think would happen.....
    Steamboat is full off half baked projects in receivership because of this type of business plan.... betting on an unknown future rather than the factual

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Stephen Evans 1 year, 3 months ago

Certinally no plan is a bad plan. If our City council could tell the citizens of Steamboat Springs where?,when?, cost?, and a design for new police and Fire Department then we would know what direction we are headed. Certinally subsidizing private business with tax dollars or give away real estate isn't the solution.

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