JACKSON, Wyo. \u2014 Town and county elected officials this week brushed off an offer to buy a portion of a successful workforce housing project made by a private, profit-seeking entity even when there was never a \u201cFor Sale\u201d sign stuck in the front lawn.\r\n\r\nThe idea to make the town and county an offer they couldn\u2019t refuse on Phase 1 of the Grove was hatched after a conversation a few months ago between Housing Director April Norton and commercial real estate broker and owner of Contour Properties, Tim Bradley. The chat gave Bradley the idea that a $5M offer could go a long way toward building more affordable housing in Jackson while relieving the Housing Authority of the onerous task of maintaining the property.\r\n\r\nNorton told electeds that while it's true the learning curve for the Grove\u2019s commercial aspect (ground floor office\/retail space) was a bit steep, it is currently fairly easy to manage the property which brings in about $300,000 a year.\r\n\r\nBefore hearing from the interested buyer\u2014Shaun Andrikopoulos dba Solitude Capital\u2014councilman Jim Stanford wondered why the matter was even taking up agenda space.\r\n\r\n\u201cI don\u2019t seem to recall ever ordering the Housing Authority or staff to put this property up for sale,\u201d Stanford said at a joint information meeting (JIM) on Monday. \u201cIf someone were to come in to town hall and say, \u2018Hey, I\u2019d like to make an offer here on this nice piece of property,\u2019 would we then schedule a meeting? At a certain point don\u2019t we simply tell somebody, \u2018Sorry, this is not for sale.\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nNorton explained that, unlike the old days before the Housing Authority was refashioned into more of a department of government, it now had to come before the town and county with basically every little detail in order to get authorization and direction.\r\n\r\nThe offer made by Andrikopoulos was $5M for the entire Phase 1 of the Grove. He said it is his intention to control his own destiny by owning rather than renting. He added that it was more about getting workforce housing out of the deal than expanding his Teton Sports & Spine Imaging, which is a commercial tenant in the ground floor of the Grove.\r\n\r\nNorton said the Housing Authority still owes about $2.5M on the mortgage for the Grove. The loan balance is expected to be paid off in about 15 years. Per the real estate development agreement, all commercial leases will be market-rate by 2027.\r\n\r\nThe Housing Authority board recommended rejecting the purchase offer and any others they may come in the future. It was not alone in that sentiment.\r\n\r\nDuring a public comment period at the JIM, St. John\u2019s Medical Center CEO Paul Beaupre said he saw a much bigger issue than a real estate deal.\r\n\r\n\u201cAnytime an entity comes into the community with the intention of setting up entities that will diminish our ability to keep margins where they are so we can provide that sacred compact we have with this community it makes it more difficult for us to do our work,\u201d Beaupre said. \u201cWe are very concerned we are facing an existential threat to the hospital with entities that are coming into the community trying to buy properties and setting up entities that they say are just competing with the hospital when in fact they are not. They do not compete with the hospital unless they\u2019re open 24\/7, accept all payers and provide the same scope of services we provide at the hospital.\u201d\r\n\r\nOthers agreed, claiming Andrikopoulos\u2019 imaging company \u201ccherry-picked\u201d clients with the best ability to pay and provided sub-standard health care in reading the images.\r\n\r\nSpeaking on his behalf, Andrikopoulos said he didn\u2019t wish to get in the weeds arguing about anything other than the real estate merits of the deal.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve heard a lot of hyperbole about what\u2019s going on with imaging in this town. I'm not here to talk about that,\u201d he said. \u201cWe are interested in purchasing the Grove Phase 1 in its entirety for the purpose of owning the workforce housing for the long-term and the commercial properties.\u201d\r\n\r\nAndrikopoulos added that he has done a number of real estate projects in the valley and did not consider a purchase of the Grove to be a \u201cone-off\u201d for him.\r\n\r\nHow they voted\r\n\r\nNo one on the town or county appeared interested in entertaining any offer to purchase one of its housing developments. In fact, Mayor Pete Muldoon told staff to come up with a process of saying no if ever the red-hot real estate industry in Jackson Hole ever came knocking again.\r\n\r\n\u201cI do not support selling the Grove,\u201d agreed councilman Arne Jorgensen. \u201cThe only reason to consider it is to access capital but there are other ways to do that. It\u2019s not a question about who has made the offer or their potential uses. We can leverage capital by borrowing against it if we had the need.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Mark Newcomb said he respected where the offer may have come from, agreeing that the housing project had its tough times in the beginning, but things are different now.\r\n\r\nCouncilman Johnathon Schechter said, \u201cDon\u2019t fix what ain\u2019t broke.\u201d\r\n\r\nStanford dismissed the whole affair as a waste of time.\u00a0\u201cThe property was never put up for sale. And town hall is not for sale either,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nUnanimous votes from both town and county boards quashed the notion after a half-hour of meeting time.