3 hotel operators said to be interested in potential development in downtown Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

3 hotel operators said to be interested in potential development in downtown Steamboat Springs

Scott Franz

A map shows the RiverView development site in downtown Steamboat Springs.

A zoning plan the Steamboat Springs City Council recently approved for a downtown development parcel could raise the chances for a new, 100-room hotel to land at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Jim De Francia, who is leading a hotel recruiting effort for the RiverView development, told City Council on Tuesday that Marriott is among the three hotel companies to have expressed an interest in the site so far.

"They're looking at Steamboat, they're looking at Durango," De Francia said of Marriott, before council members approved the zoning plans for the entire RiverView development.

In addition to Marriott, De Francia said he's also heard interest from Destination Hotels, of Denver, and Chesterfield hotels, based in St. Louis.

De Francia said the zoning at the site, which will allow for a denser and taller building, increases the prospect of a hotel operator pursuing it.

He predicted a new hotel between Natural Grocers and the Rabbit Ears Motel would also include a mix of restaurant and retail space. De Francia added the ideal size for a hotel operator would be somewhere around 100 rooms.

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Council President Walter Magill made it clear traffic at the Third Street and Lincoln Avenue intersection would be a factor in future public hearings about any development proposals. With the U.S. Post Office and Natural Grocers in the area, the intersection sees heavy traffic.

The parcel being eyed for a hotel is only one piece of a larger development parcel that spans 4.74 acres.

The RiverView site will include a new public plaza, as well as a public, soft-surface trail on the banks of the Yampa River.

Council members heard mostly support for the plans before they approved the first step of the development Tuesday.

City Councilwoman Kathi Meyer voted against the zoning proposal, because she said it would allow significantly more density at the site than the previous zoning designation.

To emphasize her point, she said the council essentially approved a zoning plan that would tack on an extra Safeway- or Walmart-sized building in the area.

Meyer said she would have rather seen a public process conducted to weigh the proposed changes in density rather than the council approving it.

Councilwoman Heather Sloop stepped down from the vote.

The council has not approved any specific buildings for the site, but their action Tuesday could make the parcel more appealing to developers, because parcels can be developed separately, and there is now a map of what types of projects will go where.

For example, low- and medium-density residential buildings are proposed to be built at the river's edge between the public plaza at Fifth Street and a small piece of open space.

A high-density residential building is proposed to go behind the Natural Grocers building.

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