County as landlord renews lease for Historical Society

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – With a deadline looming less than a week away, the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum (JHHSM) had their lease extended by the board of county commissioners last week.

JHHSM signed a 20-year ground lease for $1/year in 2002 with the county for their location on Mercill Street. It is the old site of the museum now used primarily for storage. The lease was a 10/5/5, meaning it had an initial 10-year term, followed by two five-year terms. In between, the agreement could be terminated by either party with 60-day notice.

The lease was renewed in 2012 for another five years. In 2014, the BCC decided not to renew the final five years and gave notice to the Historical Society that they would have to vacate the building and move everything to their Cache Street location. The BCC noted a $3M SPET initiative received by JHHSM in 2006 that would allow the museum to renovate the Cache Street location to accommodate more storage of artifacts. In 2010, JHHSM made a failed bid at acquiring another $4M in SPET money.

At a meeting on January 30, 2017, the BCC voted to terminate the ground lease but did give an option for a two-year extension, which JHHSM agreed to sign. The lease will now run through March 31, 2019.

The county reportedly has an eye on potentially turning the Mercill property into affordable housing.

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