Construction lull could come |

Construction lull could come

Steamboat may see industry slow-down amid the U.S. economic slide

Blythe Terrell

Steamboat Springs’ construction boom isn’t busting, but industry insiders and observers said the field might be headed for a slowdown amid the U.S. economic slide.

“I don’t think there’s any project that isn’t impacted, whether it hasn’t started yet or it has started, because the credit requirements and pre-sale requirements and pre-leasing requirements have changed significantly,” said developer Jim Cook, of Colorado Group Realty. “Banks are very nervous.”

Cook is developing downtown projects, including Alpen Glow, Howelsen Place and River Walk. River Walk isn’t scheduled to go vertical until at least 2010. One of his mixed residential/commercial projects, Sundance North, lost its financing commitment, Cook said.

“We have secured another one,” he said. “But it’s too late in the year. We probably won’t begin construction on that until after the 1st of the year.”

Most of the Sundance units are leased, Cook said. But the credit crisis has made banks wary.

At Fox Construction, business is steady, Vice President Sarah Fox said.

“We’ve seen some projects that maybe have been postponed till spring, but we have other projects coming,” Fox said.

The company has encountered businesses that are affected by the drying up or delay of projects, she said.

“We’ve had a lot of people who have small construction companies coming to us to see if they can run a project to get them through the slow time,” Fox said.

On the bright side for Fox Construction, subcontractors’ prices are decreasing, she said.

Those costs usually aren’t low just before the holidays, Fox said. But pricing is getting competitive, “so that tells us they’re looking for work.”