Smartwool likely to depart Steamboat for Denver in spring 2020 |

Smartwool likely to depart Steamboat for Denver in spring 2020

CMC, Honey Stinger interested in Smartwool's building

Smartwool in Steamboat Springs. (Photo by John F. Russell)
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — While Smartwool will stick around Steamboat Springs until the spring, at least two local organizations have expressed interest in leasing the building from the city of Steamboat Springs: Honey Stinger and Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs.

Smartwool, an apparel company, leases its company headquarters in the former Steamboat Springs Airport terminal. Smartwool’s parent company, VF Corp., announced last year that it plans to relocate its outdoor brands, including Smartwool, The North Face and Jansport, into a new office in Denver. 

City General Services Director Alan Lind said Smartwool has told the city it plans to vacate the building in the second quarter of 2020. This is later than the date initially announced and the February departure the company anticipated earlier this year.

Smartwool representatives could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Earlier this year, Smartwool’s then Director of Global Communications Molly Cuffe told Steamboat Pilot & Today that VF was renovating Smartwool’s new headquarters at 1551 Wewatta St. in downtown Denver.

Smartwool has leased the building since 2002. Its lease with the city includes a provision that allows the company to terminate the lease with 30 days notice.

With Smartwool anticipated to vacate the building in the spring, the city anticipates a two-month vacancy between Smartwool and the next tenant.

“Right now, we are looking at probably a 60-day vacancy in 2020, assuming that one of these potential tenants would move in within that short amount of time,” Lind said. “It’s really just time to clean and prepare that building for the next tenant.”

What’s next for the building?

Because of the building’s location on airport grounds, the city would have to apply for an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the future occupants of the building to use it for anything other than aviation or aeronautic use. In July, the city issued a request for proposals from businesses within the aviation industry to lease the building, but Lind said the city did not receive any responses, meaning that the building could be open to businesses outside of those industries.

Lind said Honey Stinger and CMC have both toured the building and expressed interest. With no firm plans in place with either organization, Lind said other companies interested in leasing the building could reach out to him.

“The city is encouraged and optimistic that we’ll have a great tenant in that building sometime mid-next year after Smartwool leaves,” Lind said. “Those negotiations are yet to occur with either of those two entities or possibly someone else. We’re very excited to look at the next round and sad to see Smartwool leave, as they’ve been a great tenant in that building.”

Representatives of the college and Honey Stinger both said they were in the early stages of exploring the building as an option to accommodate growth.

CMC is considering using the space for its nursing and outdoor education programs.

“We’re looking at that option to expand our programming,” said Kathy Kiser-Miller, vice president and campus dean of CMC Steamboat. “Our campus has some limited space, given the fact we’re on a hill. We’re looking at expanding the programs that the voters voted for with 7D, and meeting community needs with nursing, as well as our outdoor programs,” she said, referring to the ballot measure passed by voters last year that allowed the college to adjust its mill levy to maintain revenue should property assessments decrease under the Gallagher Amendment.

Nursing programs were explicitly mentioned in the ballot language. Earlier this year, CMC Steamboat announced it would begin offering bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in nursing in January 2020.

“We’re still looking to determine if this is going to be an option or not, so we’re in the exploratory stages of saying ‘OK, which programs might fit over there and what programs would stay here with some renovations,’” she continued.

If the college were to pursue the building more formally, it will need approval from its board of trustees. Kiser-Miller said the board approved the exploration.

Rich Hager, Honey Stinger’s general manager, said the snack company is exploring options to expand its office space. He emphasized that the company plans to remain in Steamboat.

“We’ve been growing, so future expansion for Honey Stinger is on our minds,” he said. “We just wanted to explore that space, as well as others in town. It’s not the only one that we would consider, but because it’s becoming available and because we are growing, it’s one consideration of additional space in Steamboat.”

Should Honey Stinger move into a new location, Hager did not anticipate its sister companies, BAP and Big Agnes, would be impacted. All three companies currently share office space next to Vectra Bank.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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