JACKSON, Wyo. — Hotel Jackson is moving into phase 2 of development, with intentions to develop the property at 135 N. Cache Street, the former home of Thai Plate.
Thai Plate will be moving to 145 N. Glenwood St., the original location of Lotus. Most recently Utilete occupied the space.
The Hotel, owned and operated by the Darwiche family, is planning to redevelop the property they purchased in 2004. The first phase was completed in the summer of 2015, with the hotel built off of Glenwood Street.
The new development project off of N. Cache Street will create a two-story basement, 26-30 feet deep, including underground parking, a gym, and a spa. A rooftop bar and more restaurant areas will also be developed, along with more hotel rooms and convention space.
The construction will be managed by Wapiti Corporation Construction Management and is estimated to take about 18 months. the public right of way will be hindered for about eight months while demolition and excavation occur.
During a town council meeting on March 15, the project came before the council for direction. The town has not yet approved a construction management plan.
Brian Lenz, Town Engineer, explained, “They have a building permit for phase 2, it is approved but it has conditions prior to issuance that they need to meet, those are conditions outside of the technical review of the building permit but are similar things like the shoring agreement, like agreements with the neighbors, the ancillary permits they might need, the construction management plan.”
The major concern of the project is the hindrance to the public right of way down one of the town’s key corridors, Cache Street. The project will require the sidewalk to close, which dominated much of the discussion during the meeting. The options included closing the sidewalk, or creating another pedestrian diversion. “I don’t know what the solution is, there’s is just so much traffic and equipment and you don’t want people walking through the site,” said Lenz.
Stefan Fodor spoke on behalf of the applicant, “We are asking the town of Jackson for 110 ft of impingement of the public right of way for parking and sidewalk.”
“We feel that yes there will be some impact and we want to minimize that, we want to work with our neighbors obviously they have some concerns we are listening to those,” said Fodor.
Wapiti Construction plans to begin demolition on April 14, if not sooner on April 1. During public comment, attorneys and business owners voiced their concerns about the project and aired grievances about being left in the dark about the construction plan.
Attorney Trey Overdyke spoke on behalf of St. Johns Episcopal Church and Browse ‘N Buy. “We learned about the staff recommendation today, we also learned about the construction management plan today, I learned tonight from Mr. Lenz this project has been undergoing discussions and negotiations for two years, and this is the first time the Church and Browse ‘N Buy have learned that there was any intent to block pedestrian access in front of the building.”
Overdyke asked to continue the discussion and work out a plan between the businesses. “Right now the intent as drafted would block pedestrian access to Browse ‘N Buy which that’s how Browse ‘N Buy operates, people walk in and buy things. This is going to decimate Browse ‘N Buy’s ability to operate at least for the next 8 months but more than likely the next 12 to 18 months.”
Another attorney, Jim Lubing, was present representing some of the Gaslight Alley businesses. There are eight retail stores that operate in Gaslight Alley and the property is owned by each business collectively. The Darwiche family is a member of the ownership at Gaslight Alley.
Lubing brought up the concerns of the business owners about the construction beginning after the “COVID summer” and impacting their businesses. He said, “these people have struggled through to get to this point, and now all of the sudden at the 11th hour they are confronted with a start date in April that is once again going to hugely impact their summer and I have never heard it articulated what the emergency or urgency is here. if it is only profitability I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to allow this to happen.”
Originally, the demolition plan was proposed to occur during the winter of 2020/2021. Some business owners in Gaslight Alley want the construction to begin in November to avoid the disruption of the summer season. “The applicant’s own construction schedule said it was going to be a winter, summer, winter, now it is going to be a summer, winter, summer,” said Lubing. Other merchants spoke during the meeting, asking to avoid the “loss” of two summer seasons due to the construction.
Following public comment, Councilmember Jessica Sell Chambers.”I am alarmed, I am absolutely alarmed.”
The town council unanimously moved a motion to continue the conversation, with the motion requiring the staff to continue working with the developer on a construction management plan with input from adjacent neighbors and businesses.
The construction management plan will be brought back to the council at a later date.