36-unit Steamboat apartment complex planned near Whistler Road | SteamboatToday.com

36-unit Steamboat apartment complex planned near Whistler Road

Developer: 2 buildings to include 1- and 2-bedroom units

Plans to redevelop this lot at the corner of Skyview Lane and Whistler Road into a two-building, 36-unit rental apartment complex have entered the city planning process.

— The principal in a large northern Front Range housing development company confirmed Thursday his plans to develop 36 one- and two-bedroom rental apartments at Whistler Road and Skyview Lane near the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

"The people we've talked to in Steamboat have told us that there haven't been any new one-bedroom apartments built there in 10 to 15 years," Paul Brinkman said. "Our goal is to cater to working professionals, teachers, nurses, ski resort professionals and people working in marketing and finance."

He's optimistic that employees at the proposed Casey's Pond Senior Living campus would be likely tenants for his apartments.

Brinkman, who moved his family to Steamboat Springs in summer 2010, runs Brinkman Partners LLC, which recently completed a 60,000-square-foot student housing project in Fort Collins and is working on another in Boulder. He shuttles between Steamboat and Fort Collins on business every week.

The $9 million Flats at the Oval opened at Laurel and Howes streets across from the Colorado State University campus in late summer 2010 with more than 40 units, a pizza restaurant and a coffee shop.

Brinkman's firm has entered the city planning process with plans for two three-story, 18-unit apartment buildings on a site now occupied by a small brick building that originally was intended for a convenience store but has historically been used for offices. A limited liability company created by Brinkman bought the site for $607,888 in May. The two apartment buildings would be perpendicular to each other on a triangle-shaped lot.

Brinkman said his company is involved in hundreds of rental units on the Front Range. Brinkman Partners employs 15 pros accredited in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and Skyview Apartments would be built to Green Globes standards (different from LEED), he said.

City Planner Jason Peasley said the technical advisory committee that looks at the site plan and infrastructure requirements of new developments would assemble early this week to put together a report for Brinkman's team.

Brinkman said his integrated real estate company is unusual in Colorado in that it is a full-service development, construction management, construction, property management and real estate firm.

"About the only thing we don't do in house is design," he said.

However, he quickly added that he has made acquaintances in the construction trades in Steamboat and that most of the subcontractors on his project would be local.

Skyview would comprise 30,430 square feet of net residential space in 33,500 total square feet with a mix of one-bedroom, 693-square-foot and two-bedroom, 979-square-foot apartments as well as a limited number of two-bedroom, 1,313-square-foot units.

Brinkman said the two-bedroom units would have two full baths, including a large master bath. Interior finishes likely will be upgraded to include granite kitchen countertops and hardwood kitchen cabinets, for example.

Conditions are favorable for apartment development and management on Colorado's Front Range with vacancy rates at 10- to 15-year lows and below 3 percent while rents are increasing dramatically, Brinkman said.

"There are three things driving our desire to develop in Steamboat," he said. "First, the economic crisis has changed people's ability to buy homes due to limited cash for down payments and credit issues."

Second, Brinkman observed that condominium prices here have dropped so dramatically that a whole new group of second-home buyers is acquiring condos and taking rental inventory out of the market.

"You'll see more units come off the rental market as people continue to buy," he said.

The recent U.S. Census indicates that Steamboat will continue to grow, Brinkman said. At least as significant are growth projections in northern Front Range cities such as Loveland, Fort Collins and Laramie, Wyo. Many of those new arrivals will be people from farther south on the Front Range who were formerly in the habit of skiing in Summit County, he said. Given the difficulty of driving Interstate 70 on winter weekends, and their new proximity to Steamboat via Cameron Pass, he thinks more people will look for vacation homes here.

Based on assumptions about the percentage of new northern Front Range residents who will shop for real estate in a ski town, he thinks it's possible that demographics will drive demand for 400 to 500 new housing units here.

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