Ski Town Urbanism

Steamboat Springs is entering the fray of mixed-use development and downtown condominium housing. As the Steamboat Pilot reports, 56 units were built in two new developments, and many realtors targeted second-homeowners for the development. They were surprised, however, to find that half of the units sold have gone to locals. Families are deciding to give up larger homes, yards, and two-car garages to live in the downtown area. They report that the decision was hard, but they would not change their decision. The relocated locals enjoy easy access to both the town and ski mountain by either walking or taking the bus. Shopping and recreational opportunities abound in the area, with many practically out the front door.

Downtown Steamboat Springs at the end of May; ...

Image via Wikipedia

Realtors report that the biggest challenge is convincing buyers of the value proposition of living downtown. Convincing buyers not to buy a big place on the hill in a town like Steamboat takes work. Buyers claim that lower HOA fees, amenities and recreation within walking distance and access to the free shuttles is more than a good trade off for owning fewer cars and not having a yard.

It will be interesting to see how this project continues to develop, and if more locals continue to buy the units. Hopefully this is the start of a new trend of more people in different generations valuing city and transit or walking-oriented living. It seems that many people are hesitant to give up what they are used to, which is understandable, but always enjoy the quality of life available in areas of people-centered urbanism.

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