New council will decide what to do with Iron Horse sale proceeds
October 31, 2015
Steamboat Springs — The public won’t be able to see all the proposals the Steamboat Springs City Council passed over for the Iron Horse Inn until the sale to Ski Town Commercial closes in December, but some council members Tuesday night offered insight into the pricing of the other options they considered.
They also painted their decision as securing the best price for a piece of property that has long been a drag on the city’s budget.
Councilman Tony Connell said most of the other proposals for the Iron Horse were around $1 million or less, a figure substantially lower than the $3.05 million for which the council is selling the property to buyers from Ski Town Commercial.
Councilwoman Sonja Macys, however, the lone council member who wanted to release more information about the proposals, said she felt the price difference from some of the other bids might have be immaterial.
The winning bidder plans to renovate the property and continue to lease it as workforce housing.
The council passed over a bid from BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger, three outdoor gear companies that wanted to convert the Iron Horse into their new headquarters, complete with an incubator space and a park.
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It also passed over a proposal from Friends of the Yampa to turn the property into a riverside park.
The other five proposals remain sealed.
With the sale to Ski Town Commercial now approved by the council, a new council, which will be seated Nov. 10, will have to decide what to do with the proceeds from the sale.
Two council members who are keeping their seats suggested some of the sale proceeds could be used to promote other affordable housing opportunities in the city.
In April, City Council and Routt County commissioners pledged $400,000 from a community housing fund to support a 48-unit project being planned near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road.
Connell said the sale could allow the city to make similar contributions toward developments in the future.
“If we take this deal and we execute this, we’re going to reduce our debt (on the Iron Horse property) by about half,” Connell said. “That frees us up and gives us flexibility to make those great partnerships with (the housing authority) to have impactful decision making.”
While council members thought it better not to wait to see if they could fetch a higher price for the Iron Horse in the future, others questioned whether now was the best time to sell.