Yampa Valley Electric Association has purchased the TIC campus at Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40 and intends to establish it as its new headquarters.

Photo by Scott Franz

Yampa Valley Electric Association has purchased the TIC campus at Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40 and intends to establish it as its new headquarters.

Yampa Valley Electric Association purchases TIC property for new headquarters

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TIC still has small presence in Steamboat

The sale of most of TIC's campus in Steamboat Springs on Friday marks a significant new milestone in the company's more than 30-year history here.

"We sell it with a little bit of reluctance and a lot of fond memories," Kiewit's real estate director Paul White said Friday. "I will say it will never be forgotten by so many people in the Kiewit organization and by so many people who lived and worked there."

Started in Steamboat in 1974, TIC employed about 220 people here until operations and employees recently were moved to the Front Range.

The move of employees started in 2005 when the company opened a large office in south Denver at a time when revenues at the company reportedly grew to $2 billion.

Kiewit, another employee-owned construction company, merged with TIC in 2008.

The sale of 15 acres of TIC's former campus to Yampa Valley Electric Association leaves TIC with a small presence here in Steamboat.

White said the company continues to have some vacant land in the Elk River Business Park, and one property near Downhill Drive that is a training center.

"We still have people here in Steamboat, and we still bring people into Steamboat on behalf of the company," White said referring to the craft training that still occurs here. "Steamboat has been wonderful for us."

White said Yampa Valley Electric "is going to do a great job" at the old campus.

"It's going to be a perfect place for them. It's a good thing," he said.

— Like many other people in Steamboat Springs, Diane Johnson couldn't drive by the large and empty TIC campus west of downtown and not wonder what it eventually would become.

Some people who looked at the empty buildings and parking lots thought it could be a grocery store.

Others thought this place could house a police station or become a local food processing hub.

Johnson, the president and CEO of Yampa Valley Electric Association, worried this place near a busy highway intersection would sit vacant for too long.

Then she started thinking about an intriguing possibility.

What if YVEA moves in there?

Almost a year after Johnson first started to wonder about the property, her growing electric cooperative is getting ready to move in.

"We see this as a place we can grow in," Johnson said Friday about the property that already has empty vehicle bays and big office buildings that TIC used to inhabit at the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road. "We don't have to build from the ground up there. We can move in much sooner than we had anticipated."

YVEA on Friday morning finalized the purchase of 15 acres of TIC's former campus for $9.7 million.

The purchase ends months of speculation about the future of the property and expedites the timeline for YVEA's move off Yampa Street and into a much roomier headquarters.

Already industrial

For YVEA, the property makes a lot of sense.

It already is zoned industrial, has about 47,000 square feet of office space next to vehicle bays and also has plenty of room to store transformers and utility poles.

YVEA has for months been looking for a new headquarters because it has outgrown its current 58-year-old headquarters on Yampa Street.

At the current office, vehicles have to be parked two or three trucks deep and mechanics sometimes have to wait for them to leave in the morning to make it into the building, Johnson said.

With the new property purchased, YVEA plans to soon start moving some inventory like transformers and poles that it stores near the historic Brooklyn neighborhood into a storage yard at the new home.

Johnson said personnel who work downtown could start to move into some of the office buildings at TIC before the end of this year. The company then would work with architects and contractors to plan for any renovations and expansion at the property.

"It'll be building on what's already there," she said.

She added that it's possible some of the office space on the property could be leased out to others.

Before purchasing the TIC campus, YVEA was considering building a new headquarters on one of two vacant parcels of land it purchased in recent years in and around Steamboat.

"Both of these (vacant parcels) provided good alternatives and were prudent purchases," Johnson said. "However, when it became clear that the TIC property would work out, it was clearly the preferred alternative."

YVEA did not purchase all of the land TIC owns here in Steamboat.

The company still owns several acres of land just to the north, including a lot with a training facility near Downhill Drive.

But TIC has moved most of its employees out of Steamboat in recent years to consolidate operations on the Front Range.

The company's departure raised a number of questions.

Finding a tenant

The future of the TIC campus was the subject of much speculation in Steamboat after the campus went dark in October.

City officials and Tom Kern, the CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, at one time were actively seeking out businesses that could inhabit the large industrial property.

Two years ago, the TIC facility also previously topped the list of places the city was looking to build a new police station.

But city officials dropped the pursuit of the property after they said it was offered to them as only the entire campus at a cost of $14 million.

Kern called the empty TIC campus the single largest industrial-zoned piece of property in the Rocky Mountains.

"That, in itself, is both a positive and negative," he told the Steamboat Today in December.

Kern said Friday that he was elated to hear YVEA was moving in.

"To have a business like YVEA located on that corner will go a long way in stabilizing the area," he said. "It will become an impetus for what happens next there. When you had a large area of property sitting vacant like that, it didn't send a good message."

YVEA's departure from downtown also makes way for redevelopment opportunities there.

In March, YVEA placed its building on Yampa under contract with a developer who plans to repurpose the building into a mix of retail, residential and commercial spaces.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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