COVID-19 delays plans for new downtown Steamboat hotel
Hotel owner Scott Marr has tapped the brakes on a planned boutique hotel in downtown Steamboat Springs, but is hoping to move forward with the project possibly by next spring.
“Right now employees are really hard to find, lumber has gone through the roof and all the general contractors are super busy,” Marr said. “So we are just kind of giving it a little bit of time until we get over this COVID craziness.”
Marr said plans remain in place for the upscale, 55-room hotel that will be built on property he owns but currently leases to the city for parking, located at the northwest corner of 10th and Yampa streets. The project got final approval from the city in March.
One of the few items left was to finalize the mechanical, electrical and structural engineering plans, Marr said.
“At this point the plan is to readdress that in the spring. Our approvals are good for three years,” he said.
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“I’ve always been kind of a believer in not trying to do things when the timing is not right. I think with COVID still going on, and the uncertainty, it’s just good business to wait a little while,” Marr added.
The hotel will include a fitness center, a rooftop whirlpool and underground parking, as well as a ground-level food and beverage operation open to the public.
Robin Craigen, president of Steamboat Springs Lodging Association and co-founder and CEO of Moving Mountains, is not surprised by Marr’s cautious approach to the development.
“I think it’s super exciting that he has this project on the table,” Craigen said of the new downtown hotel. “But I also think that like a lot of businesses right now, we’re all tiptoeing through a bit of a minefield, or at least it feels like it, regarding COVID.”
Craigen acknowledged concerns in the community related to COVID’s delta variant and what that could mean for Steamboat’s tourism-based economy. The hope is that the community and visitors will continue to take the new variant seriously and ensure steps are taken to protect themselves so that businesses and the economy can move forward.
“Despite the fact that there’s a lot of demand for a destination like Steamboat we cannot ignore that it makes sense to be cautious from a business planning perspective,” Craigen said.
Marr, who owns the Holiday Inn on Steamboat’s east side, said other pressures related to COVID-19 have also slowed the process of developing the new hotel. Rising construction prices and the difficultly in getting contractors to do the work play a role, along with concerns of finding enough employees to staff the hotel.
Rebecca Bessey, planning and zoning director for the city, confirmed the hotel has three years before it has to move forward with development. How quickly developments move after gaining approval varies can be influenced by a number of factors.
“We see some projects who start the building permit process concurrently with their development plan because they know they want to get started right away,” Bessey said. “We see others wait a while, and then we even see some that their development plans expire and they never go forward with the project.”
Marr said that won’t be the case in his situation.
“We were ready for our final approvals right when COVID hit in spring of 2020, and we are just ready to move forward on it,” Marr said. “We are just kind of taking a little pause while we wait through this craziness.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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