Brent Pearson said Wildhorse Meadows is going through the city of Steamboat Springs' new planned unit development process with the aim to eventually construct flexible office space for location-neutral workers.

Photo by John F. Russell

Brent Pearson said Wildhorse Meadows is going through the city of Steamboat Springs' new planned unit development process with the aim to eventually construct flexible office space for location-neutral workers.

Wildhorse Meadows going through planning process for flexible office space

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— A group of partners that owns parcels in Wildhorse Meadows are going through a new planned unit development process with the intent of creating a project many have talked about in Steamboat Springs but none have yet executed: location-neutral office space.

The PUD process was revamped earlier this year with input from developers who saw it as too punitive, and city staff acknowledged it was “broken.”

The changes designed to inspire creativity while also saving time and money led Brent Pearson and his partners to rethink what would go at the base of the Wildhorse Meadows lower gondola area.

Pearson said he’s worked with city Planning Director Tyler Gibbs and others to create a zone amendment plan that is “more appropriate” for the land.

He described the concept as “a location-neutral type of campus" where people from businesses that don’t need a headquarters or can commute electronically can have an office.

The first office planned for the parcel will be for a specific tenant — Deer Park Road Corp., an investment firm that recently had a fund rank in Barron’s top 100 — and Pearson said there also would be some complementary residential.

“We’re using the PUD to create some density,” Pearson said. “Then we’ll be identifying all the uses for that density.”

Brad Craig, chief operating officer of Deer Park Road, said the goal for leaving Torian Plum is to get all his employees under one roof even as the company continues to expand. Currently, they’re spread across three offices, he said.

“We definitely benefit being close to the ski slopes,” Craig said, noting that clients like the convenience. The easy access from the Wildhorse Meadows gondola and larger space sold the firm on the area as a long-term solution. The new office would have space to allow Deer Park Road to double its staff, Craig said.

“We’re excited to be able to grow and retain our ability to utilize Steamboat as a great community,” he said.

Pearson said the timeline he is hoping for is to start construction on Deer Park Road’s office by spring and have them in the building by February 2015.

Pearson said the plans for location-neutral offices still are in the market-study phase as his group works on the PUD during the next few months.

“The PUD allows you to get the right zoning with the appropriate amount of work done to get the right plan,” he said about the new process. The PUD would have to go to Steamboat Springs City Council to be voted on as an ordinance.

“That comes up at least twice a month: the demand for flexible office space or co-location space,” said Jay O’Hare, of Ignite Steamboat Springs. “Over the past two years, I’ve talked to at least four individuals who have had some sort of plan where they’re trying to get something like that going.”

O’Hare said Ignite Steamboat would support the construction of flexible office space and would offer feedback and help through interviews or surveys.

“What we want is to make sure the PUD is approved and our initial owner tenant is satisfied,” Pearson said. “As we go through this, there very well could be construction adjacent to them next summer. There’s plenty of time through the winter.”

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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