Steamboat City Council approves Ski Time Square lodge, commercial development project variances

The steep grade and shape of the lot challenged the architects for the Clocktower Hotel, a preliminary name for a proposed building presented to Steamboat Springs Planning Commission in late October and approved by City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.
City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy image

In an unanimous vote on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Steamboat Springs City Council approved the conceptual design for the Mountain Ventures II Subdivision in Ski Time Square. Proposed as a lodge and commercial structure, the building would fill a lot that’s been empty since the demolition of the Xanadu Condominiums in the mid-2000s. 

The developer submitted the conceptual design in a fairly early state, saying they wanted approval for some early design choices that require variances to the city code, which drew some criticism.

“This major variance request should be denied from the get-go,” said Bill Jameson, a resident who lives on the adjoining Burgess Creek Road. Jamison believes the 100 feet of right-of-way the developer requested to use for valet service and trash collection should instead be reconstructed into street-level parking spots.

Principal Planner Bob Keenan defended the project, saying there aren’t any parking spots currently in that 100-foot stretch of the city’s right-of-way.  

“Along the frontage of this property, the applicant would be proposing to reconstruct the sidewalks and create an additional area for on-street valet and off-street loading,” Keenan said. 

Jameson also didn’t approve of the planned removal of trees in the right-of-way, which Keenan responded to. 

“There will be additional landscaping that’s replaced for everything that’s removed, in addition to some street trees in that area,” he said.

The lot for the Mountain Ventures Subdivision II is irregularly shaped and on a slope between Burgess Creek Road and Ski Time Square. The sidewalk on the south end of the property would be reconstructed to make way for trash removal and valet parking.
City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy

The council members deliberated and voiced some concerns, but ultimately felt confident enough in the project, at least in its conceptual phase, to approve the variance requests.

“I think the city should be willing to give up some things in order to get things that are very important,” said council member Joella West. “I would hope that this would be the start of some serious redevelopment in that area.”

The city’s Mountain Area Master Plan imagines a redeveloped, “reactivated” Ski Time Square. The plan envisions multi-use structures with street-level commercial opportunities and busy pedestrian traffic. 

In 2023, the city plans to reconstruct Ski Time Square Drive with improved diagonal parking and more spots. At the far end of the road, the city hopes to build a turnaround loop so motorists will feel less inclined to make U-turns on private property.

The Mountain Ventures II development is also referred to as the “Clocktower Hotel,” according to conceptual plans, which may not reflect the name of the building at completion. The developers want a restaurant/bar at the street level facing Ski Time Square, with a “boutique hotel” on the upper portion that would be accessed from Burgess Creek Road. The valet service would transport vehicles parked in the front around and up Burgess Creek Road to park in a parking structure in the back.

“My only concern is that we are setting a precedent for developments in the future to make all of Ski Time Square valet, so to speak,” said council member Heather Sloop. “So, I think as this stands, this is not final so we should move it forward.”

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