‘Building crunching’ nears | SteamboatToday.com

‘Building crunching’ nears

Ski Time Square demolition could begin July 1; will roll east to west

Brandon Gee

Steve Cochrane with Environmental Demolition Inc. drives a piece of equipment Tuesday past Thunderhead Lodge. Cochrane's company is removing asbestos from the lodge and Ski Time Square buildings.

— A liquidation sale is complete, asbestos abatement continues and the first buildings are set to come crashing down in Ski Time Square.

The Atira Group – which is redeveloping Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge on behalf of Washington, D.C.-based Cafritz Interests – is a bit behind its original schedule for razing the base area properties because of permitting issues, Development Manager Jane Blackstone said. Those issues should be wrapped up soon, though, and Blackstone said “building crunching” will commence soon thereafter.

Jason Butts, project superintendent for construction contractor G.E. Johnson, said demolition of the far-eastern buildings of Ski Time Square will start sometime around July 1. Those buildings were the former homes of businesses such as Mothers Deli and The Butcher Shop.

Blackstone said a liquidation sale of furnishings in Thunderhead Lodge was successful and that a lot of work has been done in recent weeks to prepare for the demolitions.

“Things are under way,” she said, “but it’s more of a behind-the-scenes, less dramatic stuff.”

The Atira Group hopes to keep its demolitions behind the scenes as well, once it punches out a staging area it can surround with screen fencing.

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“We’ll basically have to chew our way into the site and stage from there,” Blackstone said.

The demolition of Ski Time Square will roll from east to west. Thunderhead Lodge is not scheduled for demolition until August. The Tugboat Grill & Pub will stay open at least until the end of August, when its current lease ends.

Work may require the closure of some lanes and the use of flagmen, but traffic will never be entirely cut off, Blackstone said.

“We will never block off both sides of the street,” she said.

There also will be brief utility interruptions from time to time.

“We will have periodic times of short interruptions while we’re disconnecting,” Blackstone said.

Butts said five to six trucks a day will haul demolished material away from the site. His construction crews are working from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., five days a week. Butts said relations have been good with local businesses. Slopeside Grill owner Chris Corna agreed but said the work is hurting his business in indirect ways.

“I think the perception is hurting us,” said Corna, who believes customers are avoiding base area businesses because of the nearby construction. “It’s funny. It seems there’s more a perception there’s a lot going on than a reality. : Really, it’s more the perception you better stay away from Ski Time Square.”

Missing the bus

Corna said construction was much more invasive last summer, when the city of Steamboat Springs built a roundabout in the middle of Ski Time Square Drive. Although that work was being done in the road and was truly in the way, Corna said people didn’t seem to mind. Now that construction is under way almost entirely within the boundaries of Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge, Corna said people seem to be avoiding the area.

Corna also has taken a hit with the absence of the large number of families that used to stay at the Thunderhead Lodge while in town for Triple Crown Sports events.

But the biggest detriment to business, Corna said, is the city’s decision not to run buses into Ski Time Square for the second summer in a row. Corna said restaurants Saketumi and Cafe Diva also are struggling without the service.

“Probably what’s hurting us more than anything is no bus service to Ski Time Square,” Corna said. “How the hell are these three places supposed to survive?”

Transit Operations Manager Jonathon Flint confirmed that buses are not running into Ski Time Square. Flint said construction work makes it impossible for the bus to maintain an hour-long loop if buses enter Ski Time Square.

“Right now, for us, it’s a timing issue,” Flint said. “Trying to get through there would put us way behind.”

The closest stop to Ski Time Square is at Village Drive and AprÃs Ski Way. Flint said when the intersection of Mount Werner Circle and AprÃs Ski Way reopens – initially scheduled for Friday – the bus will resume service to two closer locations at the Gondola Transit Center and Burgess Creek Road. The intersection currently is closed because of a city construction project to replace the intersection with a roundabout.