Hotel Jackson located on N. Glenwood St. Phase 2 will extend the property through the block onto N. Cache Street. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

JACKSON, Wyo. — Following a nearly hour and a half discussion, the Jackson Town Council approved the revised construction management plan (CMP) for phase 2 of Hotel Jackson last evening, May 17.

During the meeting, the Council Chambers was packed with community members who made public comments. Many business owners advocated for the project to begin after the busy summer season.

Tom Mangelsen, photographer and art gallery owner, houses his photo library in an office in Gaslight Alley. He discussed how his “life’s work” is less than five feet from the construction site. “All of this is susceptible to dust, vibrations and could all be destroyed,” said Mangelsen.

“Like many local businesses, we are just getting back on our feet after COVID. Now, this?” said Mangelson.

Issues with the CMP were raised at a March 15 meeting, including pedestrian access, traffic and dust.

The Darwiche family revised the CMP to allow pedestrians to access the west side of N. Cache Street for the duration of the project. The new CMP also maintains two-way traffic on N. Cache Street for the duration of the project.

Councilmember Jim Rooks suggested putting off the project start date until September 7, the Tuesday after Labor Day. The Council allowed Sadek Darwiche, the applicant, to comment on the suggested start date.

He said, “A fall start date does not translate into an 18-month construction project. It sounds so simple but working in the winter adds time, it doesn’t shrink time.”

Darwiche estimated that starting in the fall would push the project timeline back to 26-30 months, rather than the 24 months expected with the current plan.

“From the town’s perspective, we manage the town right of way,” said Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson. Mayor Levinson pointed out that the CMP met all of the criteria to maintain pedestrian access and that both lanes will be open during the project.

“While construction stinks all around, I am not interested in delaying the start based on some of the comments tonight that that would prolong this project altogether. I am the type that rips off the band-aid quickly,” said Mayor Levinson.

Councilmember Jonathan Schechter moved the motion to approve the CMP. Following the motion, he said, “I agonize over the disruption to the folks in gaslight alley and other businesses around there.”

“The fact is that a council before us issued a building permit to the Darwiche’s. I’m not happy about it but I will support the motion, said Schechter, adding, “Boy, this is one of the tougher ones.”

The first stage of the project is set to begin this month, with site demolition followed by excavation and shoring. During the meeting, Darwiche said the process would take about 60 days, with one week on and one week off between excavating and adding shoring.

The second stage of the project, scheduled to begin in September, will be completed by October 31, 2021, in accordance with town snow removal ordinances.

During the second stage, the vehicle travel lanes will be shifted to make space for larger machinery, including trucks to pour concrete. The pedestrian zone will be extended into the southbound travel lane on N. Cache.

Six parking spaces on the west side of the street and seven parking spaces on the east side of the street will be utilized. The eastern parking spaces will become the roadway. Later in the project seven parking spaces will be used on the west side, and eight on the east side of N. Cache will be used.

The Darwiche family will pay an estimated $335,000 to the Town for permit fees for the use of the right-of-way. The family is the majority owner of Gaslight Alley.

During the meeting, Darwiche referred to Hotel Jackson as, “My small family Hotel.” The Darwiche family owns a total of seven properties in the Town of Jackson under the business name, Stage Stop Inc.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.