Iron Horse sale closes, city releases losing bids |

Iron Horse sale closes, city releases losing bids

The Iron Horse Inn sat vacant for two years until it recently was rented out by the Sheraton Steamboat Resort as affordable workforce housing.
Courtesy Photo

— Now that the sale of the Iron Horse Inn has closed for $3.05 million, the city of Steamboat Springs is giving the public a look at the seven other proposals that were passed over for the property.

The proposals reveal the top two contenders raised their bids by hundreds of thousands of dollars as they were competing to buy the Iron Horse.

In the end, the Steamboat Springs City Council was able to secure an additional $400,000 escrow for public improvements on the property.

Many of the other bids for the Iron Horse sought to keep the property as affordable workforce housing, but the prices offered to the city were much lower than what Ski Town Commercial ended up paying for the riverside property with U.S. Highway 40 frontage.

The second highest bid was more than $1 million less than the winning bid.

The buyers intend to renovate the property, add more density for workforce housing and lease rooms to some of the largest employers in town to house their workers during an increasingly tight rental market.

Later phases of the plan call for a new cafe.

The losing bids ranged from the creation of a hostel to renovated workforce housing to a proposal to create a new park.

The Steamboat Ski Area and the Sheraton Steamboat Springs Resort wanted to spend $15,000 a month in the winter to lease out the hotel portion of the property as workforce housing for its employees.

BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger wanted to purchase the property and make it their new headquarters complete with a public park and a climbing wall.

The triumvirate of outdoor retailers offered the second highest price for the property.

They initially offered $1.4 million for the Iron Horse but raised it to $1.7 million plus a $130,000 escrow for public benefits.

In the end, the council was choosing between the housing proposal and the proposal from the outdoor retailers.

Another bidder proposed converting the property into a hostel and leasing it from the city for five years at a cost of $216,000 a year.

The city itself submitted a proposal to retain ownership and continue operating it as affordable workforce housing. Up to 10 units at the Iron Horse would have been reserved for seasonal transit drivers.

Friends of the Yampa proposed eventually turning the property into a riverside park.

Ski Town Commercial, the winning bidders, raised their offer during negotiations from an initial $2.6 million to $2.65 million plus a $400,000 escrow that the city can use to make public improvements on the property.

The Steamboat Today sought the losing bids prior to the closing of the sale to give the public a better understanding of council’s decision about the sale of the Iron Horse.

The city withheld the losing bids until the closing of the sale after the City Council voted against the release.

The council feared releasing the losing proposals could negatively impact the pending sale by potentially causing the winning bidder to lower its bid.

A city council in 2007 issued $5.3 million in debt to purchase and renovate the Iron Horse to provide workforce housing for city employees and other local workers.

The city still owes $4.9 million on the property and will pay about $475,000 annually on it through 2032, unless it chooses to refinance or pay off the debt in 2018 for $4.3 million.

The other proposals submitted for the property are below.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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