Friday, October 4, 2013

Hailey Community Development Department busy with prospects

Shopko decides not to build at north end of Hailey

Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey Community Development Department has been busy during the past year helping 24 businesses explore the possibility of setting up bases in the Wood River Valley’s largest town.
    Eight of these prospective commercial development projects are still in touch with Hailey City Hall, trying to find suitable locations and suitable property costs. The entities include Boise State University and a company that builds hotel and conference centers.
    Several projects are already coming to fruition. An O’Reilly auto parts store is nearing completion at the south end of town, while The Cottages eldercare facility is scheduled for completion by next fall across state Highway 75 from Albertsons grocery store.
    A sushi restaurant recently opened on Main Street, and a cosmetology shop is scheduled to open soon, also on Main Street. Wood River Dental will open Monday in a newly renovated building on Main Street, having departed a building on River Street.
    Hailey Community Development Director Micah Austin said the Shopko retail chain was interested in building a 34,900-square-foot building on the site that was taken by The Cottages.
    “They were looking at us for about six months,” Austin said. “As a general rule, the city does not seek out national chain brands because we want to support local businesses. But you can’t keep them out.”
    Austin said Shopko was working with the city and with two local developers to make the project happen, but Shopko executives could not negotiate land lease costs for it to be feasible.
    “It was also flawed since it would have needed a rezone,” Austin said. “That would have been a big challenge to overcome. Based on the Hailey comprehensive plan there would have been some resistance against drawing retail business out of the downtown core.”
    Austin said a retail convenience store chain took a look at a site formerly occupied by the Hitch Rack motel and store, but passed on the site. He said Valley Coop seed and feed and clothing and ranch supply chain also explored Hailey for a location before opening instead at the former bowling alley at the south end of Bellevue.
    Austin said about half of the companies looking to locate in Hailey have come to the city on their own. He said the other half he has pursued based on what he sees as a need in Hailey.
    Austin targeted Boise State University, which he said has expressed interest in establishing a research facility here.
    “The College of Southern Idaho does a wonderful job, but I want to bring more academic presence to the valley,” he said.
    Austin also contacted “Stealhead” a pseudonymous company that builds and manages hotels and conference centers. He said the company could bring 50 jobs to town if it decided to open in Hailey.
    “They believe there is enough of a market here,” said Austin, who is helping the company further explore possibilities.
    Austin said two more restaurants, including Sushi and Beyond, a “mom-and-pop” business from Japan, are looking to open in Hailey.
    “They found us, but we want them to stay here,” Austin said.
    He said a skateboard shop could also soon choose a location in town, to take advantage of Hailey’s world-class skate park, as well as a dry goods packaging facility, which could bring 35 jobs to town.
    Austin is also helping yet another eldercare facility explore the possibility of opening a site in Hailey. With at least two, new eldercare facilities opening within a year, he saw the need to contact a medical equipment business, which would provide equipment for long-term care patients.
    “Right now a lot of this equipment gets trucked up from Twin Falls seven days a week,” he said.
Tony Evans:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.