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Forties-era hospital finds new life

— Craig Rathbun believes the time is right to develop a suite of executive offices in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Rathbun is a principal in Rubicon Partners, which just closed on the purchase of the former Steamboat Today offices at 1041 Lincoln Avenue. Technically, the purchaser was Rubicon-Pilot LLC. The seller was WorldWest Limited Liability Company, which owns Steamboat Today.

“We’re going to operate as executive office suites,” Rathbun said. “We’ll offer a shared lobby, kitchen, large volume photocopier and conference room.”

The building was originally built in the 1940s as a medical office building, and includes a number of small rooms intended to be doctors’ examination rooms.

“The building lends itself to a dozen individual offices, or people could combine them into a suite of offices,” Rathbun said. Plans for the building include removing some walls to make the office configurations more practical.

A large warehouse space to the rear of the building was originally constructed in the 90s as a press room addition to the newspaper operations. Rathbun said it offers two loading docks that make it practical to divide the large rectangle into two rental spaces. He already has one-half of the warehouse leased, he said.

Rubicon will undertake a remodel of the interior of the building before the end of the year, Rathbun said, because it can do so without going through the city planning process.

Rubicon also plans a significant facelift to the exterior, but that will wait for next year, giving the developers time to work with the city.

Among the highest priorities this fall is installation of a modern central telephone system, Rathbun said. That will allow individual businesses to work without a shared receptionist.

Rathbun has previously built four executive office suites in Florida and Washington D.C., and operated two of them. His experience tells him that ideally, a suite of executive offices needs to have a total of 15,000 square feet to support a shared receptionist. Below 10,000 square feet, Rathbun said, it’s not wise to add a shared receptionist to the services shared by the tenants.

The old Pilot building measures about 9,000 square feet, with 6,000 of that taken up by the original office building and the balance in the warehouse.

Rathbun said his company will invest about $30,000 in new thermal windows for the building and invest another “chunk of change” in a new central heating system.

Rubicon itself will occupy half of the garden level office suites. The street-front suite is still available. A small single office can be leased for as little as $500 a month, and he expects the remodeled building to be ready for occupancy by Jan. 1.

Rathbun is optimistic that the close proximity of the city offices across Lincoln Avenue, the convenience of having Pilot Office Supply next door and future plans to remodel the nearby Nordic Lodge, will all generate momentum for the office building.


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