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Plans to convert classic electrical co-op building to residential, commercial space go to city of Steamboat

If you go

What: The city of Steamboat Springs Planning Commission considers Blue Sage Ventures’ request for a final development permit allowing the redevelopment of the former Yampa Valley Electric Building.

When: 5 p.m. May 14

Where: Citizen’s Meeting Room, Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs

— The developer preparing to undertake the transformation of the former Yampa Valley Electric Association Building on Yampa Street in downtown Steamboat Springs suggested Friday his project might not be the best example of how public infrastructure improvements can stimulate development.

But Steve Shelesky of Blue Sage Ventures did say that when he tackles his next downtown development project, the presence of an Urban Renewal Authority, currently being contemplated by the city of Steamboat Springs, would guide his decision making.

“We have the parking lot under contract across Tenth Street (from the YVEA building),” Shelesky wrote in response to an e-mail question. “The composition of that project will absolutely be influenced by any Yampa Street improvements.”



If you go

What: The city of Steamboat Springs Planning Commission considers Blue Sage Ventures’ request for a final development permit allowing the redevelopment of the former Yampa Valley Electric Building.

When: 5 p.m. May 14



Where: Citizen’s Meeting Room, Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs

Shelesky has a May 14 date with the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission when he will be seeking a final development permit allowing him to begin this summer on a two-phase project that involves converting former garage bays in the circa-1956 building into retail/restaurant space at street level on Yampa in the first phase. During the second phase, also scheduled to begin this year, the developer would add three residences atop the building while preserving the sweeping roof lines of the original architect, the notable Eugene Sternberg.

Shelesky said Friday that he believes the presence of a URA funded by tax incremental financing would lead to other projects that would be larger in scale than the YVEA renovation.

“I do support the URA and think that an investment into the downtown will enhance the citizen and visitor experience,” he said. “This will lead to more development projects that are, frankly, more robust than this one. The YVEA deal is largely a renovation that under-develops the site. To see real development projects emerge, there will need to be an investment into infrastructure.”

Senior Planner Bob Keenan summarized the YVEA project in a memo to Planning Commission as comprising 10,642 square feet of commercial space on the first level, facing Yampa Street, another 15,779 square feet of office space on the second level where YVEA had its former offices, and three residential condominiums on the upper level ranging between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet each.

Keenan noted that the plans call for a plaza between the building facade facing Yampa Street and the public sidewalk.

Shelesky said the 1950s modernist lines of the building’s exterior, carried forward on the outside of the expanded building by architect Bill Rangitsch of Steamboat Architectural Associates, will reflect Sternberg’s esthetic.

“The intent is to carry the modern vernacular of the original design to the new units — both on exterior and interior,” he said. “The units will feature high quality finishes, significant glass and large outdoor terraces to capture the big views of Howelsen Hill and the Ski Mountain.”

Notes on the architectural drawing reflect that existing windows on the building will be repaired or rehabilitated to meet standards for historic buildings proscribed by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The same goes for repairing existing brick on the building.

Keenan described other elements of the project, including a six-space parking garage proposed along the alley to support the residential units.

“In addition to the six-space parking garage, there is a proposed 16-space parking lot at the corner of Ninth and Yampa Streets,” Keenan wrote. “The applicant is also proposing streetscape improvements to the Ninth and Yampa Street frontages that are in general conformance with Downtown Design Guidelines.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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