Steamboat’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood could see the addition of eight homes
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Steamboat Springs brothers Gates and Marsh Gooding set out to develop eight lots platted in 1904 on the south side of Steamboat’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood, they sought to split lots to create a 15-home subdivision of small homes on the bluffs above existing homes.
They envisioned a complex of smaller homes on smaller lots aimed at homeowners who wanted to “move up.”
“We wanted to do something cool and affordable,” Gates said. He explained small homes on small lots would drive down property values because each lot would have less development potential.
The brothers wanted to live there themselves with their families. Both are skate skiers, and Marsh liked the idea of skate skiing in and out on Howelsen Hill’s Nordic trails.
“The views are awesome,” Marsh said. “It’s ski mountain views. You can see Rocky Peak. You can see the south valley, and it’s skate ski in and ski out, bike in, bike out on the Emerald Trails … It’s walkable to downtown.”
That’s not happening.
After pushback from neighbors on changing the land use for smaller homes, construction costs that tripled what the brothers planned to spend and a nuanced triangle of a land deal between the city, the Yampa Valley Land Trust and the brothers that led the Goodings to buy adjacent lots, the Goodings are building a road and leaving it at that.
Granted, it will be an expensive road. A retaining wall on the south side of the road will be about 12-foot tall at its highest point. With the slope of the right-of-way, the road will be cut at a 16.9 percent grade, which is steeper than the city’s street standard. The Goodings plan to install heated snowmelt in the road in order to ensure emergency vehicles can get up the road. Marsh pointed out at least one other private street, Longthong Road, is heated.
“These are going to be market rate lots, and they’re hillside lots, so it’s not going to be cheap for anybody over there,” Marsh said. “Now, it’s more of a cool market-rate project, where we’re not going to build the homes. We’re just going to sell the dirt. We feel like we should get out of the way and let people build their own (homes). There aren’t many building opportunities downtown, especially with views.”
Gates added that building on these lots will easily cost nearly a million dollars, due to the price of materials, contractors and other construction costs.
“That’s been one of the interesting things for us, is just seeing the economic factors at play that have been forcing our hand and potentially even pricing us out of our own project,” he said.
“We’re not sure we can afford it,” Marsh added.
“We’re not sure we’re million dollar house people,” Gates said. “Actually, it’s not that we’re not sure. It’s just that we don’t have million dollar bank accounts and don’t want a $6,000 mortgage (payment).”
Gates said four to five of the eight lots are already committed to interested buyers. Right now, only one of those interested buyers would be an absentee owner. They hope to break ground on the road in May and complete it by late summer. If everything goes right, Marsh said people could be pouring foundations in the fall.
“I feel like this is the best project that we could be proposing right now,” Gates said. “It does make creative use of a hillside that nobody thought was developable, and that’s part of the fun for us, is to find these overlooked opportunities that nobody else has really considered or considered seriously.”
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