PURCHASE OF STRATEGIC DOWNTOWN PROPERTIES
491 Sun Valley Road
In 2007, the KURA purchased two key properties, both adjacent to other land owned by the City of Ketchum. 491 Sun Valley Road, the old Mountain West Bank Building, created a key half-block of municipal ownership in downtown Ketchum. Two of the four lots were owned by the City of Ketchum and the KURA purchased one additional vacant lot, and the lot that has become the home of the Ketchum/Sun Valley Visitors Center and Starbucks coffee shop.
The building received international architectural kudos in October 2012 when Ketchum architect Susan Desko, who led the process to transform the old vacant bank building into a community gathering place, was awarded the highly prestigious 2012 American Architecture Award for her work on the project. The Awards are international in scope, and honor new and cutting-edge design.
Public and private funds were raised to create the Town Square in 2009 and 2010. The July 2010 grand opening marked the beginning of extensive public use of the space such as concerts, special events, food, and dance.
211 First Street East
211 First Street was also a strategic purchase, adjacent to the City’s municipal parking lot on Washington and Second Street. The KURA purchased the property with the primary intent of developing community housing. After several attempts to secure tax-credit financing, the KURA recognized that the site’s size and location was not conducive to developing a community housing project at a reasonable cost. The agency began to evaluate other options and entered into a tentative exchange of this property for parcels at 611-691 Second Avenue in October 2013. The KURA believes that the new site is much better suited for community housing, allowing more space to build a greater number of units at a lower price, and with more design flexibility. A zoning change and a housing credit will need to be approved by the Ketchum City Council for the exchange to be completed.