Development plans at Ski Time Square clear hurdle
When the Xanadu Apartments and ‘60s-era Thunderhead Lodge were demolished in the early 2000s, it left Ski Time Square empty.
Developers envisioned projects that would modernize the area next to the base of Steamboat Resort, but the ensuing recession in 2008 put those plans on hold. The lots have remained vacant ever since.
On Thursday, Oct. 27, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission reviewed a conceptual development plan for Mountain Ventures II, or the Steamboat Clocktower Hotel, a lodging and commercial structure that could be built next to Clock Tower Shadows.
The plan is still rough but calls for a restaurant, a boutique hotel and parking garage.
“The bigger picture here is to get some development at the base area that meets our community goals for infill and redevelopment and having active uses to support the resort area,” said Bob Keenan, the city’s principal planner.
Stephen Shelesky, the managing principal for the developer Blue Sage Ventures, said he wanted to gain approval for some early concerns — including a variance request — before proceeding with a final design.
“It’s an oddly configured site,” Shelesky said. “There’s some strange geometry we’re dealing with.”
The topography of the site is steep, with about a 50-foot elevation change from the front of the structure at Ski Time Square to the back at Burgess Creek Road.
The structure would be split into three tiers. The conceptual plan includes a street-level restaurant and lobby, a second-story patio, a parking garage that would be accessed through Burgess Creek Road and lodging above that garage.
In accordance with the Steamboat Mountain Area Master Plan, the developers wanted to provide street-level accessibility to pedestrians, which may include valet service at the front so people don’t have to drive all the way around to Burgess Creek Road to park their vehicle.
But one of the biggest challenges for the project’s architects — and the subject of variance request — involves trash removal.
The structure would address trash collection by using rolling refuse containers that would be taken to the front of the building and picked up from the public right-of-way, which would require a license agreement with the city.
Having trash picked up from Burgess Creek Road was considered an option, but the developers want to keep commercial traffic off the residential street, including deliveries. The conceptual design presented to the city would divert all commercial traffic to Ski Time Square.
The city’s staff concluded that using the right-of-way instead of on-site trash pickup would lessen vehicular and pedestrian conflicts by keeping large delivery vehicles from having to cross the sidewalk to enter the site or back up into Ski Time Square.
The city’s staff also determined that not having a garage door or dumpster enclosure near the frontage of the property would be preferable.
The maximum amount of time the city would allow the trash containers to remain visible from the street or alleyways is 14 hours, but the planning commission thought that was unacceptable considering Ski Time Square is so close to the base of the ski resort.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to see it sitting there for 14 hours,” planning commissioner Rich Levy said.
Keenan said specific terms could be included in the license agreement for the city, and the schedule for trash pickup could be flexible similar to an agreement with Slopeside Grill, which is across the street and has its trash collected on a schedule based on how busy the restaurant is.
The conceptual development plan was approved 3-1. A final development plan is expected to be presented to the city once it’s ready.
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at spowell@SteamboatPilot.com
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