Report confirms S’thorne headed in right direction |

Report confirms S’thorne headed in right direction

Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkThe Silverthorne Factory Stores loom large in economic importance

SILVERTHORNE – Silverthorne’s officials and the Economic Development Advisory Committee are optimistic about the outcome of a recently completed market research report, which shows high marks on several of the town’s current developments.”The beauty of the study is that it confirmed a lot of ideas we had, such as building the Town Center around the riverfront that will provide quality of life amenities to attract people to Silverthorne,” said Dave Anderson, chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), the group that spearheaded the report.The report is the culmination of a six-month undertaking by the EDAC and two private consulting firms designed to develop a better sense of the driving forces behind Silverthorne’s economy.”We studied Interstate 70 travelers and studied regional markets to get a really good idea of what’s going on here,” town manager Kevin Batchelder said.Local business owners, a local architect, a local attorney and a Colorado Mountain College representative comprise the committee. Development Research Partners and “ccintellect” were commissioned to complete the report, which was released last month.The firms began by conducting an e-mail survey of 317 I-70 travelers, studying a focus group of Front Range-based I-70 travelers, studying a Summit County real estate professional focus group and conducting an intercept study of Silverthorne visitors and Frisco visitors.The recommendationsAfter gathering data, they outlined several recommendations to help the town to attract visitors, including:

— Support and extend Factory Stores experience;– Improve traffic flow and signs;– Enhance town’s presence on internet; and– Better parking and pedestrian options.Most of those suggestions are in alignment with projects the town already has in the works.Earlier this month, the town signed a lease with developer Peter Cudlip to complete phase two of its Town Center, to be located adjacent to the Town Pavilion.Cudlip’s plans are to construct a family-oriented restaurant, personal service retail shops and loft housing units.Part of the design includes a pathway linking the Town Center to the Factory Stores.Phase two goes hand-in-hand with the town’s long-running goal of completing the “Blue River Experience,” which will create an infrastructure of bike trails, parks and open space, all revolving around the riverfront.Also, back in October, construction began on a $13 million project to improve the Factory Stores, which should be completed by next spring, just in time for six new stores to open. Polo Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, Coach, Cold Water Creek, Pendleton and Timberland have signed leases with factory outlet owner TGS North American Real Estate, which will bump up occupancy to about 90 percent.

Business owner ideasAside from tourists, potential business owners were the other primary target audience in the study.The consultants conducted one-on-one interviews with real estate decision makers and targeted business owners and came up with several ideas that could help bring in new businesses.Topping the list are promoting Silverthorne’s proximity to the Denver metro area, alleviating prospective business owners’ fears that Silverthorne doesn’t have a sizable year-round population and improving options for parking/pedestrian use.The report also suggested types of businesses that would help increase and diversify the town’s economic base, such as restaurants other than fast food, financial services and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.”I don’t know that we’re going to go out pounding on doors of businesses and say, ‘Here’s Silverthorne, come take a look at us,’ but some mailings could come out of this as a practical way to proceed,” said Don Sather, EDAC member and owner of BigHorn Ace Hardware.Good health ahead?Eddie O’Brien, EDAC committee member and owner of O’Brien and Associates Real Estate said he thought the most compelling information was a section of the report that compared Silverthorne with Glenwood Springs, which illustrated the benefits of the health services sector on an economy.

O’Brien added that all Summit County communities stand to reap the benefits from the new hospital in Frisco, which is expected to be completed by December 2005.”It’s a wonderful economic base for all of Summit County because it’s year-round. What’ll happen is all of the sudden there will be a real need for medical offices in this community,” O’Brien said.O’Brien stressed the need of Summit County as a whole to get away from its dependence on sales tax income and instead focus on more stable sources of revenue.”Without a question, everybody in the town of Silverthorne should bite the bullet and vote back in a property tax. It would solve so many questions,” O’Brien said.O’Brien also mentioned opening a ski training center for kids and planning for a university as two other ways to create sources of stable revenue for the future.The notion of commissioning a market research report came from the Economic Development Task Force, which was established in July 2003.The task force was composed of 11 local community members, working toward the goal of making recommendations to the town council regarding economic development issues and long-term economic development strategies.Four months later, it identified the need to complete a market research/intercept study as one of its top priorities, which is what sparked the formation of the EDAC in January 2004.Allan Barton, Heidi Bimmerle, Tom Everist, Ken Gansmann, Marc Hogan, Larry Lunceford and Kevin McDonald round out the new committee.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 229 or at

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