AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was drafted prior to the arrival of the Coronavirus. We will not be able to measure the impact on our local commercial market for some time. As you have probably noticed, I am perpetually the optimist, and I continually look for the potential positive net effects. So far, as I write this lead-in, I have not seen that the momentum that we were experiencing pre-COVID has left us. It merely appears to be on hold while we all await the return to “normalcy” after we get this behind us.
Over the last few years, the migration of people from the over-crowded and over-priced metropolitan areas, and from the ski resorts like Aspen, Vail, Park City, and Jackson Hole that are feeling those same pressures, has been growing. Now, in combination with that movement, many of the large companies with significant square footage of office space in those large cities could very well reduce that square footage by encouraging their employees to continue to operate remotely. We may see many small businesses continue to operate remotely and save the cost of physical space overhead. This trend is supported by today’s technology. This may result in many of those workers moving here to do their remote jobs in our valley, especially because they were dreaming of doing that anyway. The potential of this migration leading to a residential real estate uptick in purchases by those workers is good. Hopefully, that influx of new residents and workers will then be an infusion of business for our retailers and restaurants. Deals are getting done. We are still closing transactions. As I said……forever the optimist.
Warm Springs Ranch
The former location of the famous Warm Springs Ranch Restaurant, tennis facility, and nine-hole golf course, and most recently a very popular “dog park” has sold. The 78-acre parcel of undeveloped land on Warm Springs Road along the northern base of Bald Mountain was purchased by Sun Valley’s Bob Brennan of Brennan Holdings 300 LLC. Bob hasn’t settled on concrete plans for the site, he told the Express in an interview. “I’ve been here 40 years,” he said. “I want to do something that I know in my heart is the best use for the community.” “Bob is a local resident—he has been for decades,” his attorney, Ed Lawson said. “He’s fully aware of the needs of the community, and he plans to take those into account.”
Second and Second Building
A new five-unit condominium project has been under construction, replacing a decades-old two-story triplex, at 180 W. Second St., near Second Avenue, and is called the Second and Second Building. The new project will include four housing units, an enclosed first-floor parking garage and a 402-square-foot community-housing studio, which will also be on the first floor.
Lofts @ 660
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Right next door, more housing construction on First Avenue is underway with a new seven-unit condominium project at 660 N. First Ave, next door to the new Franz building. The project replaces the former Sun Valley Dental Arts building, immediately south of Franz’s new project.
The building will be 12,129 square feet total and stand three stories tall. The developers are building smaller units in hopes of achieving “more affordable” market rate pricing, as opposed to shooting for the high end of the market. It will have one studio on the ground floor, and three parking spaces that will be contained within two garages. Four more parking spaces will be provided on site in the alley. The ground floor will also include a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. The second floor will include a community housing studio, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit, and a three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit. The third floor will have two three-bedroom, three-bathroom units.
Ketchum Light Industrial (L.I.) Zone Changes
After more than a year of discussion and debate, the Ketchum City Council has approved sweeping changes to the city’s three light-industrial districts. The Council approved an ordinance that will permit four- and five-story, 48- and 58-foot-tall buildings in the city’s light industrial areas, provided they include deed-restricted affordable housing in their projects. Buildings can be 58 feet tall on Northwood Way, just south of the Sun Valley Community School dormitory and extending down to where the road curves off of Lewis Street. Other parts of the L.I. can have buildings up to 48 feet tall. The boost in height requires a tradeoff in community housing. Developers that propose a fourth- and fifth-story building must have a qualifying ground-floor L.I. use. If they are planning to sell the housing units, a minimum of two-thirds of the total square footage must be deed-restricted community housing. A four-story building must include at least 25 percent of the gross floor area as L.I., and a five-story building must have at least 20 percent of L.I. space. Seventy-five percent of a four-story building and 80 percent of a five-story building can be residential. The units will be a minimum of 400 square feet. In the first and second L.I. districts, the units can’t exceed a maximum of 2,000 square feet or go beyond two bedrooms. In light of the lack of affordable housing, this ordinance is meant to provide an alternative means to an end.
Hailey Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz said Hailey saw an increase in multifamily and commercial projects in 2019.
Blaine Manor Site
The 2.7 acre Main Street site was the location of the former county-subsidized Blaine Manor assisted-living facility. Blaine County donated the site, and is backing the project with $500,000 in public cash, and ARCH (Advocates for Real Community Housing) Community Housing Trust received a total of $8.41 million of federal tax credit financing for a new Blaine Manor. The two-building complex in the PUD will consist of a three story 34,431 square foot building Senior Community Housing apartment building on the northern portion, and a the three-story 37,566 square foot Family Community Housing apartment building on the southern portion. Blaine Manor senior housing will provide 30-units of affordable housing for seniors 55 or older. Out of those, 27 units will be reserved for renters at 60 percent of the area median income or less. All but one of the Family Community Housing units will be restricted to families earning 60 percent or less of the area median income. The proposed PUD will also include parking, outdoor gathering space, and a play area.
Small Residential Overlay (SRO) District
Hailey has adopted a Small Residential Overlay (SRO) District to modify the density, bulk and parking requirements of certain areas of the Business Zoning District in order to encourage the development of higher density residential housing to help meet the housing needs of the community. Projects are to be developed as Multi-Family or Mixed Use with all residential dwelling units being one thousand (1,000) square feet or smaller. The new district allows up to 50 housing units per building, as small as 200 square feet each, in an area that encompass a two-and-a-half- to three-and-a-half-block-wide swath of the central downtown core, nearly 1.5 miles long, from Albertsons grocery store to the Hailey post office. Its eastern boundary will be an alley between Main Street and First Ave. The first such development is theSilver River Residences, at the corner of Silver and River Streets.The proposed development will consist of eight two-bedroom units, five one-bedroom units and two studio units, as well as one handicapped-accessible unit. The apartments will come in a range of three sizes: 328-square-foot studios, 533- to 667-square-foot one-bedroom units and 755-square-foot two-bedroom units. The project will also include about 1,256 square feet of common useable open space.
Fairfield Inn by Marriott
A 74-room, three-story, 41,836-square-foot Fairfield Inn by Marriott is currently under construction at 711 N. Main St. It’s being built on property previously used by Goode Motors between the former King’s Variety Store building and the Bigwood 4 Cinemas. The site is located across from Natural Grocers. The 42,400-square-foot hotel will feature an indoor pool, fitness room, a 400-square-foot meeting room, breakfast and dining room, a bar, which will be open to the public. The development group has approval to subdivide the Fairfield Inn and Suites Marriott hotel from a separate smaller parcel that will provide a site for five 2,186-square-foot, three-story townhomes on River Street. They are located across River Street from the ARCH River Street apartments for seniors. The estimated $7.5 million hotel project and condominiums are scheduled for completion in the fall.
L.L. Green Hardware, for a new 17,549 square foot mixed-use building, to be located at 21 East McKercher (Lot 1, Block 2, Northridge Subdivision X). The project is located within the Limited Business (LB) and Downtown Residential Overlay (DRO) Zoning Districts.
Non-Profit entities have done, and are doing, a lot of development of their own.
The Advocates, nonprofit organization which helps victims of abuse and sexual assault, has a new 18-unit housing project to shelter clients during times of need on River Street in Hailey. The project includes a 13,000-square-foot building that includes 12 transitional-housing apartments and a new client services center and a stand-alone, six-unit apartment building.
The Mountain Humane animal shelter’s Barkin’ Basement thrift store opened in June in the former Hailey Hotel building at 201 S. Main St. The Hailey Hotel building is known as the Rialto Hotel on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1934. The building was purchased about a year ago by investors and renovated completely. It will house the thrift store as well as four upstairs housing units for Mountain Humane staff. Mountain Humane (formerly the Animal Shelter), which opened in February of 2019, sits on 20 acres in Croy Canyon and cost $16 million to build.
The Hunger Coalition has purchased four acres in the Southern Belle Industrial Park and is planning to build a 13,000 square foot building that will triple the size of their current space just across the street.
Paul Kenny has lived in Sun Valley for 45 years. He’s the former owner of Paul Kenny Sports (now PK’s) and The Mercantile of Sun Valley (Timberland). He’s practiced commercial real estate for over 20 years, and with his partner Matt Bogue, and associate Matt Gelso, they have an extensive history of transactions and an exhaustive data base on valley commercial property.