Shipping containers a design element for proposed Silverthorne hostel

Robinson Dairy building seen on Tuesday, Dec. 12, in Silverthorne.
Hugh Carey / |

Rooms at The Pad

What follows is the breakdown of the 32 rooms at The Pad, a proposed 25,250 square foot hostel and boutique hotel in downtown Silverthorne.

• 10 private rooms with double occupancy

• 6 eight-person bunk rooms

• 4 six-person bunk rooms

• 4 four-person bunk rooms

• 6 efficiency units with two beds, a bathroom and a kitchen

• a volunteer room

• manager’s quarters

Source: preliminary site plan application

A young couple hopes to tear down one of Silverthorne’s most infamous eyesores and replace it with a roughly $6.5 million hostel that, they say, will greatly bolster the accommodations available to travelers in Summit County.

The duo, Lynne Parrish and Rob Baer, have certainly been inspired by their international travels, but the dorm room-style accommodations are only one piece of The Pad, a proposed boutique hotel that will offer private rooms, lodging for extended stays and even micro rooms, in addition to hostel-style bed rentals.

“The Pad is needed in Silverthorne as a refuge for adventure enthusiasts,” Parrish said Tuesday via email. “Prices can be so high for lodging, resulting in many people making day trips instead of staying over.”

Parrish continued by saying The Pad, once built, will provide a comfortable place to stay at an affordable rate, one where people “can relax by the fireplace or hot tubs with friends, maybe with a cocktail or glass of wine — and be walking distance to anything they’d need during their stay.”

Most basically, The Pad is being designed as a kind of “home base” for people wanting pursue some of the many recreational activities in the surrounding area. More than that, Parrish and Baer are looking to create the kind of lodging accommodations they’d want for themselves.

“We think we’ll be successful because we are creating a place designed by the traveler, for the traveler,” Parrish said.

Both Parrish and Baer come from backgrounds in real estate development, and Parrish has the additional experience of working in the lodging industry, including managing a hostel in order to make sure this was the path she wanted to pursue.

“I look forward to building this from the ground up to have practices in place to make The Pad successful,” Parrish said of a project that’s more than three years in the making.

The Pad is on tomorrow’s agenda for the Silverthorne Town Council, as Parrish and Baer hope to get their preliminary site plan approved.

Based on earlier discussions, town staff’s findings and the planning commission’s unanimous recommendation, the duo seems likely to get the thumbs up they’re seeking.

Their plan describes a 35-foot, three-story hostel with 36 rooms with an apartment for an on-site manager, spacious patios, lounges, event space, a bar, small restaurant, community kitchen, bathrooms and gear storage.

The Pad would go up on about two acres at 491 Rainbow Drive, where the now-vacant Robinson Dairy building currently stands, on the east side of the Blue River, in the downtown core district.

Blueprints call for the hostel to be built using 16 prefabricated shipping containers, inconspicuously tied into a conventional steel and metal-framed construction. The repurposing of materials is one aspect of the Silverthorne project that greatly appeals to the duo.

“The idea to build with shipping containers came from a project we were part of in Costa Rica,” Parrish said, explaining that they used 48 shipping containers for hotel rooms “to ensure each room had the best view over the ocean.”

Drivers would come into the hotel off of Rainbow Drive, but foot traffic could take the existing sidewalk along Rainbow Drive and Center Circle or the 8-foot wide Blue River Trail running along the riverbank.

The developers say they’ve been self-funding the project to this point, and they “have a great group of investors that will help (them) get this project built and up and running.”

Town staff have identified a number of foreseeable town-prescribed benefits associated with the project, not the least of which is its potential to help sustain “a critical mass of people continually present” within walking distance of nearby restaurants, shops and entertainment venues.

“In the Town Core District, the Comprehensive Plan also recommends the creation of gathering spaces, pedestrian connectivity, and the celebration of the Blue River, all of which have been incorporated into the proposed project,” reads one excerpt of town planners’ findings regarding the proposed hostel.

The developers are also in negotiations with the Lake Dillon Theatre Company about regularly putting up performers with the troop at The Pad.

Brookside Builders built the now-vacant building, which would be demolished to make way for hostel, in 1982. Robinson Dairy remodeled the building in 1986 and turned it into a warehouse and distribution facility for its dairy products.

The planning commission approved the preliminary site plan on Dec. 5, provided developers meet 15 specific conditions, such as tweaking the entrance and the roof for example, before obtaining final approval.

Most perimeters of the proposed hotel — i.e. lot coverage, snow storage, setbacks and landscaping — fall well within the town’s guidelines for the downtown core. Wetlands and waterways should not be affected, according to town planners. Parrish said they’ll be working with the design team and town staff to meet the conditions presented and remedy any problems.

Parris said the idea for a hostel came to her when she was living in South America. Originally, she said, she thought that would be the best place to open one, but she soon realized “the hostel scene was lacking and undeveloped in the U.S.” That led her to shift her focus stateside.

Parrish said Silverthorne, with its proximity to Denver, breath-taking views, access to Interstate 70 and natural attractions, was an easy choice.

“After researching the best spot for one in the U.S., I chose Colorado in 2014 and I’m happy I did because not only did I find the perfect site in Silverthorne,” Parrish said, “I also found the perfect guy — and he’s now my partner in The Pad — truly making this a better project.”

If everything goes according to plan, demo work could begin as early as next spring.

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