Alpiner Lodge has new owners but property will continue as workforce housing
December 14, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Alpiner Lodge in Steamboat Springs has new owners, and though the building will be renovated at the end of the ski season, it is expected to remain as workforce housing.
"We like that it's going to be longer-term workforce housing,” said Jon Wade, who sold the building that used to be a 33-room motel. "We were happy that we have been able to provide workforce housing, and we found a buyer that looks like they will continue to provide workforce housing in the future."
Wade, Chris Paoli and an out-of-town partner bought the property in 2007 for $3.1 million. The SwedProperty Group, which includes Ulf Clacton, Johan Monsen and Jon Sanders, who is also president of Ski Town Commercial, purchased the property for $2.5 million earlier this month.
The new owners have already submitted plans to change the existing use from dormitory units into workforce units as defined by the city of Steamboat Springs.
SwedProperty redeveloped the Iron Horse Inn into the Flour Mill after purchasing it from the city in 2015. The group is also developing property on Yampa Avenue and is working on a plan to develop new housing on 7.5 acres on the city's west side.
"Seasonal workforce housing is difficult for everybody. It's difficult for the landlord, it's difficult for the property manager and it's difficult even for the employers who are managing it,” Sanders said. “But it gives them (the employers) a benefit to tie housing to employment, so that they can entice people to come to Steamboat.
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“It's needed, and we have found a niche supplying seasonal workforce housing and long-term apartments in town,” Sanders added. “The Alpiner fits right into our wheelhouse."
The new owners will convert the manager's office and lobby into retail space, which will bring the building into compliance with the current commercial zoning requirements. Sanders said they are already looking for tenants to fill what are expected to be 400- and 900-square-foot retail units.
"We are trying to get it out in the world that we are going to have some retail and see if we can get somebody in there sooner than later and see if they can catch the summer market," Sanders said. "We could change our phasing if we knew we had tenant interest in either of the two sides."
He expects the building renovation to take place in phases beginning after the ski season. Kitchenettes will be added to the housing units, and the exterior of the building will be improved. Other phases will reconfigure the main floor restroom, making it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and then add the retail space, unless interest pushes that phase forward.
The past four years, the building has been leased to the Resort Group, which has used the property as housing for its employees.
"We negotiated a new deal with the new owner for three more years," said Mark Walker, president of the Resort Group. "I'm very pleased that they have no intention of changing it from workforce housing, and in fact, I think they are going to invest significant dollars to improve it."
Walker said Resort Group negotiates the rent on behalf of securing a certain number of beds needed to house employees, and then the company passes that rate onto the employees and subsidizes those rates.
"The rate is not going up for this winter," Walker said. "But they are going to do some significant improvements this spring, and that may generate an increase in rent that we have pre-negotiated."
Walker said his agreement with the new owners will cover the next three years, and any increase in the rents will adhere to that agreement. He said some of the renovation work this summer may require some Resort Group employees to stay at other properties managed by SwedProperty Group.