Building tests Ketchums limits
Developer says its an example of how maximizing use of a lot can be
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
A proposed Ketchum commercial building is testing the limits of the
The Peaks, a three-story, 21,995 square foot building proposed for the
former Louies Restaurant site, was designed to embrace the locations vibrant
history and reflect Ketchums mining and mountain heritage, the buildings
developer, Marshall Smith of Hailey, said in an interview Friday.
It would be close to 40 feet tall and have a floor area ratio (FAR) of
1.99. The city allows maximum FARs of 2 and heights of 40 feet if underground parking is
provided. FARs are calculated by dividing a buildings square footage by its lot
The proposal is one of four commercial buildings that was not subjected to
special 120-day interim regulations that limit construction of large buildings in
Ketchums downtown. The Ketchum City Council unanimously adopted the 120 day
regulations in early February.
But the project didnt hold up to the Ketchum Planning and Zoning
Commissions critical eye Monday night at a pre-application design review hearing, in
which Smith and the P&Z exchanged ideas on the proposal.
"I just dont feel like this design is small western,"
Commissioner Baird Gourlay said. "Im just very concerned about the size of
The majority of the commissioners agreed that the buildings
timber facades, facing Leadville Avenue and Sun Valley Road, are attractive. The
approximately 40-foot-tall sandstone corners, however, are too big, the commissioners
The corners would house elevators and stairs for the three-story building.
The stone corners, Smith explained, are designed to resemble mining
"Its a huge stretch to convince me that [the corners] resemble
mining shafts," Commissioner Rod Sievers told Smith and his architects, McLaughlan
& Associates of Ketchum, at the meeting.
The building would have large inner open areas, an escalator
(Ketchums first), an elevator and ample decks on multiple sides of the building.
The half-hour presentation the design team gave at the meeting was a brief
glimpse into the design process for the building, according to Smith. Hes been
drawing plans for a downtown Ketchum commercial building for five years, though not always
for the Louies site. He finalized the purchase of the land late in the summer.
During his five years of designing, he said, hes been paying
attention to what the P&Z has wanted from other developers.
"I had a vision of what I wanted to do, which changed over five years
many times based on what weve heard from the [city officials] and people around
town," Smith said.
Part of that vision is an attempt to "commemorate the history of the
site," Smith said. The third floor restaurant could be named Club Rio, Smith
suggested, after the old bar that once sat on the corner of Sun Valley Road and Leadville
Avenue, and the outside of the building would have plaques explaining the importance of
the site to Ketchum historically.
Also, the Leadville Espresso Houses name could be used for a second
floor coffee shop. The espresso house was in the historic building formerly known as
Finally, Smith said hes working with Dick Meyer and Floyd McCracken
of the Ketchum Historical Society on setting up historic presentations on the second floor
of the building.
The buildings architect, Bernie Johnson, told the P&Z that he
and the buildings other planners would return, having taken comments into
consideration. A return date for the project is not yet set.