COSMOpolitan Owner Working on Workforce Housing in Norwood
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” -Proverb
…and that’s exactly what Chad Scothorn, owner of Telluride’s COSMOpolitan restaurant, did. Rather than sit idly while workers couldn’t find homes and left town and other restaurants shuddered due to lack of employees, he took it upon himself to find housing for his local Telluride employees.
“Chad’s search is eye-opening and necessary,” says Mike Shimkonis, director and partner of Shimkonis Partners/Telluride Properties. “He’s been a very successful restauranteur in Telluride for over 25 years. He attracts employees like bees to honey but despite the natural attractiveness of waitstaff and cooks wanting to be a part of the Cosmopolitan Restaurant culture, the pandemic has caused Chad to double down and buy and build housing to make it even more appealing to work there.”
Scothorn, who has been in business for 25 years and in Telluride for 26, has seen Telluride change over the years and knew what was coming next.
“COVID has made a bad situation worse,” Scothorn says, referring to the housing crisis. “Most of what the town had was converted into short-term rentals, pushing people out of town.”
The workforce housing issue hits restaurants especially hard, considering most professional cooks, managers and servers wind up leaving due to the cost of living in the area, Scothorn notes. Instead of dealing with that turnover year after year, he took matters into his own hands.
“I thought I could recruit employees from out of town and I think long-term this is a good investment for my retirement,” Scothorn says.
Three years ago, Scothorn built an Accessory Dwelling Unit on his property in the Ski Ranches. When things started getting even more dire with COVID in 2020, Scothorn began building two homes in Norwood with the intention of housing employees exclusively.
“Chad had the foresight to build a guest house several years ago that he’s offered to Cosmo employees,” adds Shimkonis. “He’s expanding on that vision and it takes time and money to make such a significant financial commitment. Other business owners are making similar moves fortunately.”
Since then, Scothorn has also purchased a 3-bedroom home in Norwood and plans on renting to the mature professionals employed at the COSMO.
“I just want to keep them rented and on annual renewals review the needs of the COSMO,” Scothorn says.
Norwood, which is a ranching community around 45 minutes outside of Telluride, is a fairly easy commute through a relatively dry canyon. Its mesa location provides plenty of outdoor activities, like fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.
“I am hoping more housing happens,” Scothorn says, referencing the Telluride Foundation’s 24-unit proposal and other projects in due diligence. “With a critical mass in Norwood, there should be better bus service and retail/restaurant scene.”
Click here to learn more about the COSMOpolitan or to inquire about working with Scothorn.
Mike Shimkonis founded the Telluride Association of Realtors First Time Homebuyers’ Fund and contributes to it with his partners at every single closing. If you are interested in purchasing housing for employees, are a local looking for housing, or need more information about the fund, please reach out to us directly here.