Senior campus in Steamboat enters city planning process |

Senior campus in Steamboat enters city planning process

Building near Casey’s Pond to be 120,000 square feet

— Colorado Senior Residences has entered the city planning process with its proposal for a 120,000-­square-foot building comprising three arms radiating from a hub.

The project includes 144 apartments on a 6-acre senior campus at 2855 Owl Hoot Trail just off Walton Creek Road on Steam­boat Springs' south side. The building addresses the pond with a seating amphitheater and pier.

"Overall, we're very pleased with the first round of design," CSR's Charles Gee said. "We think we've succeeded in meeting not only the city's goals and objectives, but ours. The pond is a phenomenal opportunity that we worked very hard not to screw up. We did our best to respect the pond edge, and we believe (the development) is very compatible."

The apartments range in size from the 262-square-foot studios in the skilled nursing facility, of which there would be 42, up to a 1,320-square-foot, two-bedroom independent living unit.

The facility, as proposed, includes 54 skilled nursing accommodations, 26 memory care units, 30 assisted living apartments and 34 independent living apartments. Of the latter, 12 are one-bedroom units with dens.

The different units will be concentrated in separate neighborhoods within the overall building.

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Gee said there exists industry research to guide his company's decisions on the mix of units but it's still a detailed process that is scrutinized by underwriters for the financing of the project.

"This asset class is performing well even in this economy," Gee said.

He predicted the wide range of senior living opportunities in the development would attract residents from across Northwest Colorado and perhaps other mountain towns.

The 144 apartments account for 67,822 square feet of the overall project. The balance can be attributed to community living areas with fireplaces, dining rooms, commercial laundries and exercise and medical rooms.

City Planner Jason Peasley said the facility is something new for his department.

"I don't think there's anything like it in the mountain towns," he said.

The project just entered the city planning process, no public hearings are scheduled, and Peasley intends to be deliberate in analyzing the large building.

"I don't see any major obstacles, but we want to make sure it's a done deal and there are no lingering questions before we send it to Planning Commission and City Council," Peasley said.

He noted substantial uniformity in roof pitches in the long arms of the building and asked the developers in a memo, "Are there opportunities to increase the roof pitches on the multi-story buildings and to use other elements to reduce the impacts" of the long roofline?

The building is four stories and 65 feet tall at its highest point in the middle, but that height is not typical of the overall building.

Elevation drawings reflect multipaned windows, but exterior decks are noticeably absent.

Peasley said the developers have found from experience that decks are not a good fit for their residents.

Gee said the design team already is engaged in making changes in accordance with comments from the Steamboat Springs Planning Department and hopes to respond with revisions within a month.

Colorado Senior Residences is a development entity created to formalize the collaboration of Yampa Valley Medical Center and Pearl Senior Living, of Denver, on the new senior campus. Pearl's principals have helped to develop a series of similar senior campuses on the Front Range and in other states.

Michael J.K. Olsen Architec­tu­re, of Steamboat Springs, is consulting with VTBS Architecture, of Denver, on the project. The interior designer is Lizabeth Jones Interior Design, of Boulder.

Gee said he spent Halloween in downtown Steamboat and the multiple generations that were evident during the trick-or-treating event made an impression that affirmed the community's values.

"This is why the senior community is going to work here," Gee said.

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