An Olympian project |

An Olympian project

Council approves Fifth and Yampa building, 2007 budget

Mike Lawrence

Peter Brewster walks by the vacant lot at Fifth and Yampa streets, where The Olympian project will be built beginning in the spring. On Tuesday night, the City Council approved plans for the development.

— Add another building to the list of projects that will reshape downtown Steamboat Springs.

On Tuesday night, in a meeting that also included adoption of an expanded 2007 city budget, the Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously and resoundingly approved The Olympian, a 41,100-square-foot commercial and residential building to be constructed on the northwest corner of Fifth and Yampa streets. The Olympian, currently three vacant lots, joins Lincoln Avenue projects Howelsen Place and Alpenglow as approved, large-scale future mixed-use buildings in downtown Steamboat.

Council members praised The Olympian’s design, which includes primarily brick and stone materials, an inner courtyard, balconies looking onto the Yampa River, varying rooflines and commercial spaces visible on all four sides of the building’s ground floor. The Olympian will include 20 market-rate residential units, three residential units that are deed-restricted as affordable housing, and more than 6,900 square feet of commercial space.

“This is one of the most comprehensive, best-put-together, and attractive applications I’ve seen in my five years on the council,” Steve Ivancie said, following strong statements of support for the project from council members Susan Dellinger and Loui Antonucci.

“It’s a regular love-fest,” council member Towny Anderson quipped.

Project applicant and Steamboat resident Paul Franklin bought the property in 2004 and enlisted Steamboat firm Vertical Arts to design the project. Architect Brandt Vanderbosch led the design.

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Franklin said he hopes to break ground on the estimated $20 million project in the spring.

“This is great for the city,” Franklin said. “This building is going to be there for 100 years.”

If that turns out to be true, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club can expect a lot of donations.

Franklin told the council Tuesday that revenue from transfer fees at The Olympian – fees associated with the sale of the development’s market-rate residential units – will be donated to the Winter Sports Club. Initial sales of The Olympian’s 20 market-rate units could generate $100,000 for the club, Franklin said, adding that additional fee revenue will be generated by future sales.

“We’re really excited,” said Franklin, who has a 9-year-old daughter who snowboards and a 12-year-old daughter who skis Nordic combined. “The transfer fees will be huge for the Winter Sports Club.”

Bigger budget

The Winter Sports Club was not the only local entity to receive a financial boost Tuesday night.

The Council approved five additional expenditures to the city’s 2007 budget, which it adopted with a unanimous vote.

The additions include $213,000 to help fund four additional firefighters for the Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District; a $50,000 loan to Main Street Steamboat Springs, enabling the group to prepare a 2007 ballot issue asking voters to create a “Business Improvement District” downtown, which would fund downtown improvements with a permanent property tax; a $50,000 contribution to terminal expansion at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden; $38,000 to update Vision 2030 – formerly Vision 2020 – a compilation of public policy recommendations created by a multi-faceted citizen committee in 1994; and $10,000 to fund a community survey that will compile local economic and demographic data.

Although the council unanimously approved spending on firefighters and the Main Street loan, the other three additions faced opposition.

Most significantly, the airport contribution passed with a 4-3 vote. City Council President Ken Brenner, Dellinger and council member Karen Post opposed the contribution.

Brenner said Routt County benefits from $4 million in revenue from a 1 percent city sales tax.

“That, to me, is our contribution to the airport expansion,” Brenner said.

Dellinger cited sales tax and property tax revenues from Steamboat as factors that create a “pretty one-sided” flow of funds from the city to the county.

Dellinger also voted against the $10,000 survey allocation, citing its similarity to the Vision 2030 update and saying the council could find better ways to spend city dollars. Council member Paul Strong voted against funding the Vision 2030 update, calling it a “nice-to-do, not a have-to-do” allocation.

With Tuesday’s additions, the adopted 2007 city budget includes total projected expenditures of $48,598,506 and projected 2007 total revenues of $45,952,760. The city will have more than $10 million in reserves at the end of 2006.

A copy of the budget is available for public review at City Hall, 137 10th St.