Resort Group purchases Inn at Steamboat for workforce housing
On Thursday, April 28, Resort Group LLC closed on the purchase of the Inn at Steamboat with plans to use the former hotel for workforce housing.
“For years we have been trying to find a way to be in control of our own destiny and own our own workforce housing,” said Mark Walker, president at Resort Group. “We were able to make this happen, and we’re super excited about it.”
Walker said that some of the company’s year-round employees will augment specific rooms over time, but this purchase is primarily for seasonal employees who come in to fill roles in the busier winter and summer months.
“Seasonal employees are the backbone of our company and work incredibly hard for us,” Walker said. “Finding seasonal housing is challenging, and 35 rooms fits us really, really well, and will handle the needs for our seasonal workforce, which is primarily what this will be for the winter and summer.”
Most recently, Resort Group seasonal workforce has been housed in the Steamboat Mountain Lodge behind the Steamboat Hotel. Resort Group leased 38 rooms for the winter, and Walker said that lease will end about the same time the Resort Group takes over ownership of the Inn.
“We were able to do this because of how well our company has performed” Walker said. “We are putting our money where our mouth is, and instead of relying on someone else for housing we have gone out and made it happen and bought our own. We’re super excited and proud.”
Walker said the rooms at the Inn at Steamboat are larger and better appointed than many of the recent employee housing options. He said Resort Group is planning to put two people in each room in the hopes that the property will provide housing for at least 70 employees.
“For now, I don’t think there’s much we’re going to do to the property, but down the road we have a few ideas,” Walker said. “The place has a great community kitchen, it has a workout facility and it has a nice lounge and break room. There is a lot of common area elements to it, and it’s got plenty of parking. It’s just a really nice spot for us.”
This isn’t the first time a company has purchased a hotel and converted the rooms into workforce housing.
According to Naddine Sisto, the Inn at Steamboat was built by her father Roy Larson Jr. in 1974. Sisto, who still lives in Steamboat Springs, said her father had come to Steamboat with his friends and fell in love with the area.
“He and some of his fireman buddies would come out here hunting. He did that for probably four or five years, and he was a contractor in Chicago on the side,” Sisto said. “He came out here and just wanted to do some construction work and build a lodge.”
Larson moved to Steamboat and began taking work as a contractor, eventually going into business building and operating the inn, which was called the Subalpine Lodge at the time. He built his family a house, but they eventually moved to a four-bedroom home on the pool side of the building.
“It was a really fun way to grow up,” Sisto said. “It made it easier with reservations and, you know, helping people. That kind of thing. It was kind of a hands on family business.”
Larson returned to Wisconsin in 1996, and passed away in 2019.
“I guess it would be sad if it was torn down to me a little bit,” Sisto said. “But if somebody’s gonna buy it and do something really cool with it that doesn’t make me sad at all.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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