Chamonix II counting on quality and details

— Rectangles are hard to find at Chateau Chamonix phase two. And it's no accident that almost all of the rooms in the 21-unit luxury condominium complex avoid right angles.

"What we're providing is the unique floor plan," co-developer Mark McElhinney said. "That, and the quality of the construction. I think the quality is evident to everyone who comes in here. Our bedrooms aren't rectangular. Wherever you sit in the unit, you feel like you're in a corner unit. You don't see your neighbors, not even from the deck."

The complex nearing completion on Apres Ski Way represents the second phase of a ski-in/ski out project that borders the southern flank of the Headwall ski trail. All of the units are contained within a single level of the four-story building, and all are quite large.

Of the remaining nine units, the smallest is 1,653 square feet and the least expensive is priced at $525,000.

The details that reflect the quality built into Chateau Chamonix are almost too numerous to mention. The living rooms have 9-foot ceilings stepping up to 10 feet in places and the large glass doors leading onto the decks are 8 feet high. Architectural soffits with recessed lighting surround the perimeter of the great room and the fireplaces, built of natural stone, incorporate accent lighting.

The knotty alder cabinets in the kitchen are reflected in polished marble tile countertops. And the major appliances in the kitchen are also faced in alder.

However, McElhinney said the bathrooms may draw the most comments. Each bedroom at Chateau has a bathroom. That's almost to be expected in ski town condos and townhomes any longer. But at Chateau, there are two master bedroom suites with bathrooms that include a large jacuzzi tub flanked by a steam room shower large enough to accommodate a bench for seating.

McElhinney acknowledges the units at Chateau Chamonix are at the upper range of condominiums in Steamboat, but he believes they will prove to be relative bargains over time.

"Just 5 percent of the (developable) land at the base of the ski area is left," McElhinney said. "These units in Aspen or Vail would cost $1,000 to $1,200 per square foot. Here, they are $400 and less."

As recently as three years ago, Steamboat had not surpassed $200 per square foot for vacation properties, but McElhinney said it's important to realize Chateau Chamonix incorporates some expensive construction techniques.

Building codes require sprinkler systems throughout the building, including inside closets, he said. And to ensure the floors can support the weight of large, natural stone fireplaces, they are built of a layer of concrete topped by unusual 1.25 inch plywood sub-flooring.

"It's quality equal to Aspen, Beaver Creek and Vail," McElhinney's partner Gene Chupik said. He was instrumental in developing The Lodge condominiums and the first phase of Chateau Chamonix.

Chupik believes the largest four-bedroom units in the project represent the best buy because they amortize the fixed costs of the "front entry," kitchen and common areas across more rentable bedrooms.

McElhinney predicted a significant number of the condominiums will be rented on a short-term basis.

McElhinney said condominium owners at Chateau Chamonix owners will benefit from the in-house presence of Northstar Management, which doesn't manage any other vacation properties besides Chateau.

Owners will also be provided individual ski lockers, an exercise room with showers and changing rooms and a storage facility suitable for bicycles and other kinds of sports equipment.

McElhinney is the listing Realtor at Steamboat Real Estate Inc.

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