Four lots in Hayden’s planned industrial park are already under contract

The project has received $5.2 million in federal funding and hopes to break ground this summer

The Hayden Station just east of Hayden is shown from an EcoFlight tour of the Yampa Valley with Friends of the Yampa on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. the coal-fired power plant is schedule to shut down later this decade.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Even though it will likely be two years until the sites are actually built, Hayden’s yet-to-be-constructed industrial park already has four of its first 11 building sites under contract.

Just these four tenants — one expanding from out of state — could add as many as 55 jobs in Hayden.

Town Manager Mathew Mendisco estimates that when fully built out, the industrial park project will make up a significant amount of the property tax base the community stands to lose when the coal-fired Hayden Station powers down by the end decade.

“At most conservative estimates, you’re talking over a $70 million valuation for the first phase,” Mendisco told a joint meeting of Routt County commissioners and Hayden Town Council on Thursday, Dec. 1. “Commercial assessed value could be, on the second phase, about equal to that, depending on what develops there.”

The project started out as part of an entry into a national competition for pandemic stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, but Hayden’s entry wasn’t selected for funding. Focus then shifted to pursue funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which announced $5.2 million in federal grants for the project in August.

“$70 million in taxable value?” Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan asked, which Mendisco confirmed was accurate.

“That goes a long ways toward replacing the value of Hayden Station,” Corrigan said.

The grant funding will pay for infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer on the property, which Hayden annexed into the town in August. By building this infrastructure, the project will create ready-made parcels of three to five acres for a business to buy or lease the land and construct a building that fits its needs.

Mendisco said the size of the parcels is larger than any other property available for this kind of development in Routt County, and the town has had a lot of interest in the project among businesses potentially looking to expand.

“We’ve done zero marketing other than natural local things than have come out,” Mendisco said. “By the way, the first phase is fully funded — at least fully funded for what we know costs to be today.”

Mendisco said the town is close to submitting an official planning application to itself for the development, with the hope of starting to move dirt this summer. Work would continue through the winter where possible, with the infrastructure work being complete by summer 2024.

The first phase carves out 11 lots, and the second could have as many as 14. The town is leading the way on phase one, which includes some of the big-ticket items like water mains, reducing some of the costs in the second phase.

The area isn’t zoned for housing, but Hayden’s Community Development Director Tegan Ebbert said it would be possible to build housing with a conditional-use permit, though that would be limited to direct workforce housing. Mendisco said one company under contract has expressed a desire to build a few units to accommodate workers who may need to relocate.

“We definitely don’t want somebody to come in and build a bunch of tenant finish, live-work units,” Ebbert said. “That’s not the goal of the project.”

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