Friday, June 3, 2011

Board OKs visitor center upgrades

Ketchum URA allocates nearly $28,000 for project

Express Staff Writer

Improvements will begin next week on the Ketchum visitor center, though what tenant will benefit from the upgrades remains to be determined.

The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency unanimously voted to approve $27,655 of upgrades during a special meeting on Tuesday, May 31.

"We're going to do this work anyway ... regardless of who the tenant is," said URA Board Chair Randy Hall, the city's mayor.

Contractor Kearns McGinnis & Vandenberg will perform work to the building at 491 Sun Valley Road.

Improvements to be made include removal of about half the interior walls to open up the space, removing film from the windows and bringing a new 4-inch water line and 6-inch sewer line to the building.


Steve Kearns, who was in attendance on behalf of the company, received accolades from the board and staff.

"Steve has been invaluable in this," said Lisa Horowitz, community and economic development director for the URA.

Horowitz described the improvements as "fairly tenant-neutral."

Board member Baird Gourlay said the improvements will make the building more attractive to any prospective tenant.

"I'm for it," he said. "It's an investment, but it's also deferred maintenance. It's clearly the minimal that we can do."

Work is expected to be complete within a few weeks.

Rebecca Meany:

Lease not yet signed

The URA last month voted to approve a revised lease agreement with the Cairde Group, which wants to operate a Starbucks franchise in the visitor center. As of Wednesday, the Cairde Group had not signed the lease. Negotiations are ongoing, principal Jane Rizzo said.

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