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Bank to own hotel land

By Ben Graham, Jackson Hole Daily
June 10, 2013

Bank of Jackson Hole will soon own a big piece of land on North Cache Street once pegged for a fancy hotel.

A deadline passed last week for any junior lienholders to come forward and buy the property for $7.6 million. The lots are at Mercill Avenue and Perry Street, opposite the Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s Jackson offices.

Attorneys for the bank mailed the deed to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office last week. Once county officials sign off on the deed, it will be transferred to the Jackson bank.

Officials from the bank would not comment Thursday.

Last December, the Jackson Town Council approved a master plan submitted by owner North Cache Investments for three of the five lots that make up the property. The plan is still valid and allows for a 65,000-square-foot hotel.

But Bank of Jackson Hole launched foreclosure proceedings in January against the limited liability company, which the bank said owed $10.35 million.

Speaking in February on condition of anonymity, a representative of North Cache Investments said the company had been making its mortgage payments up to the point that the loan matured in September. Then the bank changed its demands for renewal, he said.

At a foreclosure auction Feb. 5, Bank of Jackson Hole Chief Executive Pete Lawton set the bidding for three parcels — 345, 355 and 375 North Cache — at $4.8 million. The bid for the other two lots, 325 North Cache and 45 Mercill, started at $2.8 million.

No buyers came forward.

North Cache Investments had a three-month period to buy back the land, but did not do so.

The company had tried several times to develop the property since it first acquired the lots in 2008. The Town Council had approved three versions of the master plan since 2009.

The most recent version of the project was approved in January, with the condition that the owners clean up a large plume of benzine left under the property by an old Texaco gas station.

North Cache Investments is a Wyoming corporation that lists an address in Nashville, Tenn. Principal Dan Cook told the Jackson Hole Daily in September 2011 that he hoped to begin work at the site in 2012. He said at the time he was hopeful about the planned development, but also acknowledged that the state of the economy had been a continuing drag on plans.

In its ultimate version, Cook’s plan included about 60 hotel units in what he called a high-end development along the north entrance to Jackson. Also included were 13 condo units, four employee housing units, about 1,800 square feet of restaurant space and an elaborate open roof area where people could lounge and enjoy the view.

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