JHNG Article: Snow King base set to grow

By John Spina | Posted in the Jackson Hole News & Guide: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 4:30 am
Base of Snow King
The area around the base of Snow King Mountain Resort has long been planned to be a secondary commercial hub of Jackson to offset downtown. But until recently most of the neighborhood’s development potential lay dormant.
Snow King Mountain’s multi-million-dollar investment in mountain attractions, however, has caught the attention of some developers who are now planning to transform the area.
While only two new buildings are currently planned, together they represent the probable future for the base area.
A 38-unit mixed-use condo complex has been proposed at 680 S. Cache St., increasing the base area’s lodging potential, while a Teton Brewing Company restaurant and brewpub at 58 E. Snow King Ave. could add to the social scene.
“The vision has always been for urban commercial resort level intensity associated with the Snow King Resort Master Plan,” said Tyler Sinclair, joint town and county planning director, “but also the private zoning along Snow King Avenue and parts of South Cache.
“But it really hasn’t been realized,” he said. “These projects would represent some of the first projects to implement that overall vision of a vibrant mixed-use commercial node.”
Unlike development in downtown, the plans for commercial development near Snow King will likely result in less dense buildings with more open-air designs to provide views of Snow King and the natural surroundings.
“It’s not a downtown development pattern,” Sinclair said. “Although it’s commercial, it’s less dense and trying to make sure we’re connecting the buildings to the open space and views as opposed to downtown that is more urban.”
Plans for the Teton Brewing Company’s new space are still in their preliminary phase and have yet to go before the town for review. The town’s attempts to streamline the planning process with updated District 2 regulations could speed up the process for development in the area, Sinclair said.
Current plans for the brewpub include 26 parking spots on the first floor, 1,000 square feet of restaurant space, a 300-square-foot bar and a coffee shop on the second floor, and employee housing on the third floor.
The investment in the area appears spurred by Snow King’s expansion plans.
“The recent investments at Snow King complement the proposed uses by catalyzing additional pedestrian traffic and general activity,” said Christen Holt, a Pierson Land Works project manager working with the brewpub. “It is an exciting time for redevelopment along this corridor.”
Ryan Stanley, general manager of Snow King Mountain Resort, told the News&Guide the ski area did not have attendance projections yet and can’t quite calculate the increased traffic generated by attractions in place, including the Cowboy Coaster, Treetop Adventure ropes course and Alpine Slide. But, he said, there is the potential for Snow King to break even this year — the first time in decades. Further investment is expected to increase the area’s financial potential, he said.
Crystal Creek Capital, the developers of the Town Hill Lofts sited just west of where King Tubes runs in the winter, had sentiments similar to those of the Teton Brewing Company.
“It’s an exciting place, a vibrant place and a unique location,” said Jim Walter, president of Crystal Creek Capital. “A lot of great people have invested in the area. People can hike and ski, there’s the farmers market, JHLive concerts, hockey games and the rodeo.
“It caters to someone who wants to embrace the activity around Snow King,” he said. “It’s a place where people can feel the pulse of Jackson and feel like they are a part of it.”
If approved by the town, the Town Hill Lofts will create 55,000 square feet of mixed-use space. The development will consist of 34 market-rate units, ranging from one to three bedrooms, and four employee housing units, two with one bedroom and two with three bedrooms.
The Snow King Master Plan currently requires 30 percent of deed-restricted housing onsite.
The building will also include nearly 4,000 square feet of commercial space.
Crystal Creek Capital said it is waiting to determine what type of commercial businesses will be housed there based on the opportunities that present themselves once the building nears completion.
Development plans for the Town Hill Lofts are set to go before the planning department today.
If the new buildings are approved along with Snow King’s resort expansion, the development potential around Snow King will likely be seized upon.
Of the 21 lots currently zoned commercial along Snow King Avenue and South Cache Street, 12 are owned by limited liability companies or land trusts, and three are already vacant.
“Whether these two developments will spur other property owners, I guess time will tell,” Sinclair said. “I think improvements to Snow King will definitely help.”