New studio concept aims to create a downtown artists’ enclave in Steamboat
March 9, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Commercial Realtor Jim Cook believes he's found a creative way to transform the vacant second story of an older building at 1125 Lincoln Ave. in the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs into 16 artist studios.
His intent is to create an environment where local artists can collaborate and inspire one another. He calls the revived building “Imagine.”
"I've been trying to do this for quite awhile, we just don't have a plethora of buildings available for reasonable rental rates," Cook said.
During an October 2015 speaking engagement at the Depot Art Center in Steamboat, Bill Marino of the 40 West Arts District in Lakewood said his organization, which has facilitated art shows involving 5,000 artists, was seeking ways to create housing/studio spaces to multiply the economic growth his organization has inspired along West Colfax Avenue.
Cook wants something like that for Steamboat's creative district.
If the address 1125 Lincoln Ave. sounds familiar, it's because in 2016 and 2017 the Rogers brothers were planning to act on approvals from the city of Steamboat Springs to build a 60-unit apartment building on the site at the corner of Lincoln and 12th Street.
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That project did not go forward after a neighbor successfully sued the city to stop the project by arguing the city had issued too many variances to its zoning code in granting the final development permit for the building.
Cook said he approached owner Eric Rogers and pitched the project. Cook said, after hesitating he and his brother told him, "have at it."
The building is known to some as the former location of Boomerang Sports, which moved further up Lincoln. But Cook said at one time, the long, narrow, two-story building was an automotive garage. In another era, it was a motel.
One of the attractions of the space, according to Cook, is that some of the ceilings are exposed to beams and several have skylights. Renters won't have to undertake tenant finishes.
In addition to creating an artists' enclave, Cook said he expects the new project — with plans in the works for a new gallery on the main floor — could serve to improve the connectivity of the downtown arts district by creating a link between Gallery 89 at 1009 Lincoln and the historic Depot Art Center across the Yampa River on 13th Street.
Cook said the studios, which range from 98 square feet to 200 square feet, will be offered with six-month leases and flat rates in the $400-a-month range. The first month will be rent free, so that an artist can take time to create the space they want, hopefully with an appealing display on the door to the hallway, Cook said.