Council wants demolished site put to use before redevelopment
October 22, 2009
Steamboat Springs — A development plan for the former site of Ski Time Square was tabled until January on Tuesday, largely because the Steamboat Springs City Council wants to see a plan for igniting the demolished commercial area between now and redevelopment.
The development plan, which was unanimously approved by the city Planning Commission last month, also has been complicated by conflicts with the Ski Time Square Condominium Association, which holds easement and lease rights on portions of the 4.6-acre site.
Among the association’s complaints is that the development plan calls for construction above and around an aging parking structure leased to the condo owners for the next 64 years.
The Ski Time Square redevelopment project proposes about 681,700 square feet of primarily residential construction in five buildings on 4.6 acres. The project includes about 27,500 square feet of commercial space and public amenities such as improvements to Burgess Creek, restrooms and a fire pit. It is 105 feet tall at its tallest points.
The Atira Group is redeveloping Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge on behalf of Washington, D.C.-based owner Cafritz Interests, which purchased the properties in 2007. On one of its Web pages, Cafritz refers to the combined redevelopment projects as “Aspen Ridge at Steamboat.”
Anticipating immediate redevelopment, the existing Ski Time Square buildings were demolished in 2008, with the exception of the Tugboat Grill & Pub. Now, Atira is requesting a 10-year vesting period for the development. Especially given that request, Councilman Walter Magill said something needs to be done with the site in the interim.
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“That site needs to be greatly improved,” he said Tuesday night during the council’s meeting.
The demolition has created struggles for the remaining businesses along Ski Time Square Drive.
Earlier in Tuesday’s meeting, council approved allocating additional money to the city’s urban renewal authority at the base area to add additional signage promoting the area.
City Council President Loui Antonucci agreed with Magill. He said that although adding vibrancy along Ski Time Square was not solely the developer’s responsibility, he wanted to see something done.
“It’s basically barren with a fence,” Antonucci said.
Suggestions for drawing more traffic to the area have included tethered balloon rides, modular businesses and even a playground. Atira Vice President for Development Mark Mathews said he has discussed relocating Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s temporary music tent from the Knoll Parking Lot to the Ski Time Square site, and he said he remains open to other possibilities.
“We’re very open to doing things to make that site look better,” Mathews said.
The development plan was tabled to Jan. 19 instead of an earlier date to allow Atira enough time to address its disagreements with the Ski Time Square Condominium Association. In a letter to the association, Cafritz President Steve Peer proposed a meeting in early December.
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