Holiday open house shows off properties at the mountain |

Holiday open house shows off properties at the mountain

Builder Robert Pakola's house on Aprés Ski Way replaced an older home on the site. It has a bar and a room suitable for hosting large parties in addition to the living room on the main level.Tom Ross

— It was open house night in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday, as Realtors took the temperature of holiday visitors to see whether they could turn the merely curious into solid sales leads.

Realtor Michelle Garner, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, said holiday vacationers might invest enough time this week to form impressions of properties on the market but leave the serious deliberation for another trip. Often, they are willing to make an appointment to fly back into town to focus their property search, she added.

A few prospective buyers were willing to forgo après ski and their condo hot tubs to venture into a thick snowstorm and check out some of the luxury homes south of Walton Creek Road on the flank of the ski mountain.

A woman from the mid-South stopped in to ask whether a luxury duplex on Alpenglow Way offered a master suite on the main level, for example.

It's a market where builders and developers are dropping prices to just below $400 per square foot to tempt buyers.

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"I think people want to see $550 quality for $400 or less," said Realtor Kathy Steinberg, of Prudential Steamboat Realty.

She was welcoming visitors to a large, single-family home with guest quarters on Après Ski Way, where Minnesota architect/builder Robert Pakola Architectural Design Build Inc. has dropped the asking price from $3.2 million to $2.5 million to get it in the range of $397 per square foot.

For that price, buyers could acquire a home where the developer couldn't resist expensive extras such as wide-plank maple flooring, a built-in seat in a brightly lit staircase, soft floor-level lighting on the stair treads, and an audio system with a beefy 3,000-watt amp and 30 speakers. There's also an unfinished elevator shaft in place for buyers looking ahead to retirement years.

Interior windows in the home are designed to allow natural light to penetrate where typically one would see walls.

"The architect wanted to gather light from all four directions in every room," Steinberg said.

The home is noteworthy because it replaced a 1970s-era home on the same site. The wooden shingles on the mansard-style roof of the older home were emblematic of another era in Steamboat.

"It reminded me of a Pizza Hut," Steinberg said with a wry smile.

Pakola and a partner paid $1.07 million for the home on a third of an acre and demolished it to make way for a home that succeeds in creating many different angles on the bright interior while keeping to a practical floor plan.

In addition to a spacious formal dining room and living room, there is a rare party room with a large bar on the main level.

"We've already had a party with a live band in here," Steinberg said. "You can easily entertain 150 people. And the 800-square-foot carriage house sets it apart from other homes in the neighborhood."

Right around the corner, on Alpenglow Way, Garner was hosting an open house at a new duplex listed by colleague Cheryl Foote at Prudential. One half of the duplex includes five bedrooms (all suites) and five bathrooms and two half baths for $1.89 million. The other side of the duplex is available for $1.95 million. Both come in under the target $400-per-square-foot threshold.

The structure was built by Construction Design Group, of Boulder.

The "wow" factor is provided by a large, see-through stone fireplace that divides the dining and living rooms and extends to the second level, where it creates a warm sitting area just outside the master suite.

Garner said she has shown property this winter to people who already own a home in Steamboat and are looking for something bigger while taking advantage of dropping prices.

She has one client, she said, who doesn't need to sell the existing home in order to upsize.

Discounted building lots

Listing broker Chris Wit­temyer, of Prudential, is trying to create some urgency for the 54 building lots in Barn Village at Steamboat, where the community building has just been completed.

The developers are offering a 30 percent discount on the next three lots that sell in the new subdivision just east of shopping and dining at Central Park Plaza and the historic More Barn off Pine Grove Road.

Eight of the 54 lots have sold, and the first single-family home, being built by a local attorney, is nearing completion.

A couple who appeared to be in their 40s stopped in to the community building at Barn Village at Steamboat to learn more about building sites, even though it was challenging to discern lot lines in the heavy snow and gathering twilight Wednesday.

Wittemyer is hopeful that the new facility, with a dramatic fireplace, kitchen, separate exercise room with a rubberized floor and outdoor pool will help people visualize building a home in the development.

"It's a place to bring people where they'll have a chance to see what life here will be like," Wittemyer said. "There are no through streets, so it will be a quiet neighborhood for Steamboat families, but you can walk to shopping."

The amenities of the community building will extend the living space of the homes, Wittemyer predicted.

"It's like adding a couple of rooms to your house," he said. "Do you really want to build your own exercise room?"

After a price drop in the neighborhood of 20 percent at Barn Village in early 2008, list prices range from $445,000 to $506,000 for lots of 0.15 to 0.2 acres in the traditional neighborhood design portion of Barn Village, where garage access will be off of an alley.

Single-family estate lots from 0.3 to 0.58 acres range from $770,000 to $885,000, with some of them situated close to Fish Creek on a quiet cul-de-sac. Duplex lots are in the neighborhood of $1.05 million.

With the resale of a half-acre lot in the Sanctuary this month for $415,000, Barn Village has noteworthy competition. However, Wittemyer pointed out that buildable lots in well-planned subdivisions still would be in tight supply coming out of the recession.

"Based on how few building permits have been pulled (in 2009), I think when it starts to catch back up, (the recovery) will get exaggerated."

For the next three sales in any of the categories, Wittemyer said, the developer will extend an additional 30 percent discount.

For single-family lot 50 (0.41 acres), that would drop the price from $885,000 to about $600,000, Wittemyer said. Lot 33, (0.16 acres) would drop from $572,000 to about $400,000.

"The developer is very motivated to make deals for the next three sales, but it's limited," he said.