Developer submits competing offer for Steamboat Springs public safety building
January 31, 2013
Steamboat Springs — BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger are not the only ones who want to buy the downtown public safety building from the city of Steamboat Springs.
A second offer has been submitted to the city by a developer who envisions redeveloping the property with a combination of retail and office space.
Realtor Jon Wade, of Colorado Group Realty, said Thursday that he is representing would-be buyer Steve Shelesky, who Wade said has extensive development experience on the East Coast. Wade said Shelesky has been a part-time Steamboat Springs resident for many years and moved here permanently a year ago.
Wade said Shelesky’s offer is for $2,165,000, just more than the $2,108,000 offered by BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger. Shelesky’s offer would allow the city to lease back the building for as long as 36 months, which Wade said would allow the city ample time to find new locations for the fire and police stations.
Critics of the 840 Yampa St. sale have said the process is too rushed, particularly given the absence of a concrete plan for moving the city’s fire and police operations. Wade said his client's offer would address those concerns.
"The city has time to make a smart plan for itself," Wade said Thursday, adding that Shelesky “gets more time to make a smart plan for Yampa” Street.
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"He wants to do a project that's very much in line with the Yampa Street goals and to create a vibrant Yampa Street," Wade said.
The Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled to review the offer during an executive session at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.
As of last week, the City Council was scheduled to consider Tuesday the final reading of the $2.1 million sales contract with Big Agnes, Honey Stinger and BAP. The Steamboat-based companies make outdoor equipment, energy food products and apparel. Co-owner Bill Gamber wants to centralize the companies and their 50 employees downtown.
The final reading of the sales contract now has been delayed until March 5. Interim City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the delay was not related to the second offer that has come forward for the property. She said the delay is because there still are loose ends in the overall project and more information that needs to be given to the City Council.
"We're not ready to have a full project to give to council," Hinsvark said Thursday.
Gamber, who was aware of the new offer, said Thursday that he was not bothered by the delay.
"They've got a lot of details that they're working on," Gamber said. "There are a lot of moving parts that they're doing a good job of putting together."
Gamber said he is waiting to see what the city decides.
"Our offer is a super good offer," Gamber said. "There is a lot more to what we offer the community than some development project or anything. We bring 50 full-time employees downtown."
City Council member Walter Magill said he would like to continue working with Gamber, who he said has been a good partner.
City officials have hoped the sale of the public safety building downtown would help jump-start a revitalization of Yampa Street.
"If we were going to entertain a second offer, I'd be interested to see how it helps with Yampa Street revitalization," Magill said. "The question to be asked is how does it go with Yampa Street revitalization?"
Aside from selling the building, the city has to decide where to move the police department and downtown fire station. It has proven to be a difficult process, and Magill doesn’t support selling the building until a concrete plan is in place.
Currently, city staff is preparing information for the City Council related to building a new $5.5 million fire station at the Stock Bridge Transit Center. Public Safety Director Joel Rae said Thursday that the Steamboat Springs Area Fire Protection District unanimously voted Jan. 21 to fund 33 percent of the building cost.
As for the police department, the city has proposed temporarily moving it to the city-owned Iron Horse Inn. Hinsvark said staff members still were working on cost estimates for converting the Iron Horse into a police department.
The timing of the sale of the building has been met with opposition, and some think the public should vote on the issue.
Steamboat Springs residents Scott Ford, Jack Dysart, Brian Berry and Roger Good are leading a group called Citizens Opposed to Poor Planning to freeze the process.
"It is financially irresponsible to sell this building before new facilities to house fire/police have been constructed, and that should occur only after all of the other capital needs of the city, including storm water improvements, deferred maintenance, and previously identified capital improvements have been prioritized and approved in the city’s capital plan,” Dysart said in a news release from the group.
The group would have 30 days after the council approves a sales contract to collect the valid signatures of 955 voters in the city to successfully petition the ordinance onto a referendum. The question then would go to a vote of all eligible residents. The group has set up a website at http://www.hellosteamboat.com.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com