Land called ‘golden key’ to easing local housing crisis now for sale on Steamboat’s west side

The house on this map indicates the area where Steamboat 700 LLC is selling a 346-acre parcel of land.

A 346-acre parcel of land currently for sale on the west side of Steamboat Springs could hold the key to the community’s future housing needs, if it can attract the right buyer.

The property has been in the spotlight several times since 2007 when it was first acquired by Steamboat 700 LLC as part of a total 536-acre package eyed for future housing. Steamboat 700 would have gradually added about 2,000 new homes on the site, which was originally purchased for $25 million, but in 2010, voters overwhelmingly rejected annexation of the property.

Most recently, in 2018, Boulder-based developer Brynn Grey Partners LTD struck an agreement with the owner to create a master plan community on 190 acres of the total land. Following a public vote, the land was permitted to be annexed into the city, but Brynn Grey failed to purchase the property within the city’s 45-day timeframe, and the deal fell through.

Two brokers with Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty now have part of the property back on the market — the first time it’s been available since 2013. Ren Martyn and David Baldinger Jr. say it’s their goal to market the property to best suit the community’s housing needs.

The property’s location close to the city’s commercial core, preexisting neighborhoods, transit and the new Sleeping Giant School gives it an easy advantage to help ease the local housing crisis, according to the two brokers.

“It would accommodate the majority of the future housing needs of the community at every level,” Baldinger said.

Plans for the property over the years have included significant affordable housing components and a variety of housing types, including traditional for-rent affordable housing, for-sale deed-restricted affordable housing, market-rate small apartments and condominiums, row homes, small-scale single-family detached homes and amenities that go with a neighborhood, such as parks, commercial spaces and more.

The plan aligns with the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, an ongoing joint planning effort between the city and Routt County that identified places for the city to grow. It allows development proposals for that land to go through the city planning process even though the property was outside Steamboat’s city limits, with the understanding that the land would first be annexed into the city.

The 190 acres highlighted blue is the land Brynn Grey Partners LTD was looking at developing after receiving annexation approval in 2018. However, Brynn Grey was unable to reach an agreement with Steamboat 700 LLC in the 45-day timeframe outlined by the city, and the plan fell through.

After more than two years of debate and public hearings, Steamboat Springs City Council voted 4-3 in 2009 to approve an annexation agreement that would have allowed the permitting process to move forward for the full 536-acre property, but the city’s decision was challenged by a citizen-led group that amassed enough signatures to put it to a public vote. It was ultimately defeated by voters.

It’s believed the community at that time wasn’t comfortable annexing the full property into the city all at once, Baldinger said.

Brynn Grey was granted annexation approval in 2018 for the east part of the property, totaling 190 acres.

Baldinger said the owners are mulling their options on the 190-acre parcel, but what is currently listed for sale is the 346 acres on the property’s west side for $14 million.

“They’ve had this property since 2007, and as that group has gone through the up-and-down cycles of the real estate market, they’ve decided that their intent is really to try and sell the property,” Martyn said of Steamboat 700.

Martyn considers the property “the golden key” to Steamboat’s housing future.

“What we’re feeling right now — this affordable crunch — is a supply crunch. Plain and simple,” Martyn said. “There’s not enough housing, the focus being affordable housing, but there’s not enough housing right now to meet the demand.”

Having 1,500 to 2,000 home sites of different size and density constructed on the Steamboat 700 property is what Steamboat needs to meet the demand, Martyn added.

What Steamboat 700 and Brynn Grey couldn’t accomplish with the property is still possible, according to Baldinger. If someone came to the proverbial table in the next several years with a planned community for that site, it would be well received, he said.

“No one can debate whether there’s a shortage of housing in Routt County, whereas maybe that was debatable 10 years ago,” he said.

Despite the local housing crisis, there’s nothing guaranteeing the property, if purchased, would be used for housing. While Baldinger said it’s not likely it would become a resort-oriented development, it’s possible that someone could buy it and operate the property as a working ranch or a golf course. There’s nothing to prevent that besides the seller.

“It’s the best case scenario for the landowner and worst case scenario for the community,” Baldinger said. “It just would be a shame if someone doesn’t take advantage of that for our community.”

The two brokers’ marketing is crucial in ensuring the property sticks with its original objective of providing a housing solution, and they’ve been aggressively marketing it for the last 60 days.

So far, there has been some interest in the property, according to Baldinger, who said multiple parties have pitched a variety of visions, all of which remain confidential.

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