Steamboat Springs City Council intrigued by idea of pursuing newspaper building for municipal offices | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs City Council intrigued by idea of pursuing newspaper building for municipal offices

Steamboat Pilot & Today offices

— The Steamboat Springs City Council wants to keep kicking the tires on a potential purchase of the Steamboat Pilot & Today building as a site for future municipal offices.

"I think probably it's worthwhile to have a serious discussion about what our long-term goals are," Councilwoman Kathi Meyer said Tuesday.

Councilman Scott Ford called it an "attractive building" after councilman Walter Magill ticked off a list of potential benefits including the space's proximity to the bus line, Yampa River Core Trail and possible expansion in west Steamboat.

Magill noted that previous city estimates for a new City Hall have come in above $9 million, and a $5.5 million purchase of the Today building with some remodeling costs and additional vacant land could put the city ahead.

Some council members also mulled the idea of selling off U.S. 40 frontage that comes with the site for commercial development.

A quartet of city officials last month toured the building with an eye toward establishing city facilities and perhaps a replacement for City Hall or a fire station in the future.

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Worldwest LLC, the former owner of the newspaper, is trying to sell the 23,222-square-foot building and 1.5 acres of nearby land along U.S. Highway 40 for $5.5 million.

The building includes 10,680 square feet of office space.

Steamboat Today and its new owner, Swift Communications, do not have a financial interest in a sale of the building.

The newspaper is currently leasing the building while it searches for a new home in Steamboat.

Much of the building is currently vacant due to printing operations moving to Gypsum after the change in newspaper ownership.

City officials compiled a list of pros and cons for council members to look over.

The availability of land to expand on, opportunities to consolidate like functions and the buildings younger age compared to existing city facilities were listed as pros.

Cons included the offices separation from Centennial Hall and the council's chambers, unknown remodeling costs and the unknown cost of bringing the building up to a public safety code.

The tour comes at a time when city officials say they are running out of space to put employees in the current City Hall building downtown on 10th Street.

The city and the local fire district also have plans to build a new fire station out west.

Real estate agent Cam Boyd said in addition to the interest from the city, he has had two other inquiries so far about the newspaper headquarters.

They include a party that was interested in leasing the building, and another who was an investor looking to use part of the building and lease it out.

Steamboat Today has occupied the building since it was built in 1999.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10