YVEA starts to re-energize vacant TIC campus

Scott Franz
A Yampa Valley Electric Association truck inside its Steamboat headquarters.
Scott Franz

— Yampa Valley Electric Association has turned the lights back on inside what used to be Steamboat Springs’ largest vacant industrial complex.

The local electric cooperative recently finished moving its 40 Steamboat employees and fleet of vehicles into its new headquarters at Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40.

The move is a big first step toward renovating and re-energizing what used to be TIC’s headquarters.

“It’s a big relief to know we have a really functional building that’s going to serve us for another 50-plus years,” YVEA CEO Diane Johnson said Monday inside the break room and kitchen area of the new headquarters. “It also feels very energizing to be in a new location that is not as aged as the other place. It gives us all a chance to restart.”

After operating for 59 years at 10th and Yampa streets in downtown Steamboat, YVEA completed the move to its new home on Dec. 23.

The large-scale moving operation was done internally over the course of five days.

“It was controlled chaos, but very organized,” Johnson said. “I think that’s because we did so much planning beforehand.”

Now, YVEA is starting to make its new campus feel like home.

With operations now based in the north side of the campus, the co-op soon will launch a big remodeling project on the south end of the campus.

Johnson said one goal is to connect the existing garages with the main buildings.

The co-op also will need to add more garage space.

When the remodeling and renovations are done, employees will move from their current home in the north part of the campus and into the renovated buildings on the south end.

YVEA then has the option to sublet, subdivide, repurpose or sell the remaining office space it won’t be using.

Johnson said some of the unused buildings on the north end of the campus also could possibly be converted into some form of housing.

She added whatever is done with the space, it could generate revenue to help offset the cost of the $9.7 million purchase of the new headquarters that includes more than 74,000 square feet of enclosed space.

In a recent YVEA newsletter, Bill Rangitsch of Steamboat Architectural Associates said the co-op saved millions of dollars in development costs by moving into a new location that already had parking lots, yard space and property sized utility service connections, among other things.

Meanwhile, development plans for YVEA’s old headquarters on Yampa Street are continuing to move forward.

Johnson said developer Blue Sage Ventures is expected to close on the purchase of the building sometime around April.

The developer plans to repurpose the building into a mix of commercial, residential and retail spaces.

Parking lot closed

YVEA’s parking lot on 10th Street that used to accommodate public parking in the evenings has been closed.

The lot, which also is under contract with Blue Sage Ventures, was blocked off because Johnson said it is not cost effective for YVEA to continue plowing and maintaining the lot when the co-op is no longer operating downtown.

“And if we don’t maintain it, we don’t think it’s safe, and we don’t want to create a safety hazard,” Johnson said.

Johnson said YVEA is in discussions with the city of Steamboat Springs and some local retailers about the possibility of someone else taking over maintenance and liability for the lot while it is still under contract.

Downtown drop box closed

YVEA customers now will need to use the company’s new headquarters at 2211 Elk River Road.

A drop box is no longer available at the old downtown location, so customers will need to either pay online or drop payments off at the new location or the drop box at City Market.

The new headquarters is accessed from Elk River Road.

The entrance off of U.S. 40 is for employees and company trucks.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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