Boulder developer proposes 64 market rate apartments on U.S. Highway 40 west |

Boulder developer proposes 64 market rate apartments on U.S. Highway 40 west

— A Boulder developer has entered the city of Steamboat Springs’ planning process with a proposal to build 64 one- and two-bedroom apartments on 3.5 acres on the city’s near west side.

The entrance to Elk River Apartments would be on the north side of U.S. Highway 40 directly opposite from the highway’s intersection with Curve Court. The latter runs between Cook Chevrolet & Subaru and the Steamboat Pilot & Today building.

“I think we’ll appeal to a great number of people looking to come to Steamboat,” developer Steve LeBlang said Monday. “I think we’ve got the right units. I’ve looked at median incomes — 80 percent of the Steamboat population will be able to fit into that 30 percent rule of affordability (as a percentage of household income) — small families with one or two children could live in a two-bedroom apartment.”

LeBlang’s project is not to be mistaken for the affordable apartment development submitted to the city by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority last week, and often referred to as Elk River Village. The site of that project is less than a mile away, around the corner on Routt County Road 129/Elk River Road.

LeBlang’s development would rent apartments at market rates. He said he purchased a second home here for his family within the last two years and became interested in business opportunities in Steamboat.

“After talking with area residents, I readily identified a need for multi-family housing,” he wrote to the city planning staff. “Upon finding the Elk River property, I knew it would be the perfect location for multi-family housing. A variety of services are located close by, including several restaurants, brew pubs, cafes, quick shop retail, hardware stores and household retails stores.”

LaBlang also is enthusiastic about the property’s location on a free-to-rider transit route.

City planner Toby Stauffer said the site is ideally intended for a mix of retail and housing. Ironically, LeBlang, said he investigated the possibility of including retail in his apartment development proposal but concluded it lacked sufficient density to support retail on site. That would only reduce the number of available housing units, he said.

“It’s a conditional use,” Stauffer said of the apartment project. “The property is zoned for mix use, but they can build apartments there.”

LeBlang said he has invested in several apartment projects in the past, but his partners in Elk River have lengthy experience in multi-family residential and were closely involved in writing the business pro forma for the project. In addition to the 64 apartments divided among 40 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units, the plan calls for 28 garages as well as surface parking. There will also be indoor and outdoor community areas.

Stauffer said the project is still being evaluated, and no public hearings have been scheduled.

LeBlang confirmed that he and his partners have a contract in place to purchase the site for their development but do not intend to close on it until they are able to secure city approvals.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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