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Bank to take over hole

By Tram Whitehurst, Jackson Hole Daily
April 16, 2012

The site of a long-stalled downtown development project could soon be taken over by First Interstate Bank, according to correspondence with the town of Jackson.

In an April 10 letter to the town, bank President Jon Scott wrote that ownership of the McCabe Corner property — occupied for the past several years by just a deep rectangular hole at the intersection of North Glenwood Street and West Gill Avenue — is expected to change hands in the next 30 days.

The Jackson Town Council is scheduled to consider the matter at a meeting tonight at Town Hall.

Jackson Hole Capital Partners, which for almost four years has been trying to build a mixed-use development on the property, is the current owner. The group’s manager, Jim Eden, could not be reached for comment.

The April 10 letter does not say why First Interstate is taking on the property, what it plans to do with the site or what the terms of the deal with Eden’s group are. In an interview, Scott said the deal has yet to be finalized and declined to comment on it.

As part of the change in ownership, the bank is requesting from the town a 90-day extension on the building permit for the site, which is set to expire April 25.

The permit has already been extended eight times, and some town councilors have recently expressed frustration with the delay.

“This extension is necessary to allow JHCP and the bank to transition the project and for us to develop a mutually beneficial strategy that brings stability to the project, satisfies the town’s immediate concerns and allows flexibility with respect to the ultimate disposition and development of the project,” Scott wrote in the letter.

“FIB will need this time to qualify and quantify what we perceive as the options to the project, then bring those options before you and the town council,” the letter states.

Since the building permit was first issued by the town in October 2008, the McCabe Corner project has been stalled for lack of funding. The planned mixed-use development called for a three-story, 58,000-square-foot building with more than 30 condo units.

During the most recent extension of the project’s building permit in February, the town and Eden agreed to work on an arrangement under which Eden’s group would finish the building’s foundation, install underground walls and partially fill the hole by Aug. 31. 

Eden would also restore some of the surrounding sidewalks and parking, which had been restricted by the project.

But it appears Eden and the town have not made any progress on the agreement.

“Since the February meeting, the town and applicant have not proceeded with the drafting of requested agreement as discussed,” town Planning Director Tyler Sinclair wrote in a staff report prepared for today’s meeting.

The report does not say why the agreement wasn’t worked on, and Sinclair could not be reached for comment.

Scott said in an interview that the bank recognizes the town’s concerns, but he would not comment on whether the bank would proceed with any of the work previously discussed.

“FIB is aware and sensitive to the town’s concerns about life safety matters, restoration of pedestrian rights-of-way and the overall uncertain status of the development,” he wrote in the letter.

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