Plans for the Hotel Ketchum call for a four-star, 73-room facility at the southeast corner of Main Street and River Street.
The Ketchum City Council on Monday unanimously approved a request to allow Hotel Ketchum developer Jack Bariteau more time to submit a construction plan.
The vote was delayed at a previous City Council meeting in which former Mayor Ed Simon objected to the amendment because Bariteau’s development group defaulted on a loan for the Main Street property. At that time, Bariteau was not in attendance to respond.
First American Title Co. stated earlier this year in a notice of auction that Bariteau owes an unpaid principal balance of $1,989,862 along with interest and other fees totaling $2,497,793. Bariteau told the Idaho Mountain Express that he intentionally defaulted to bring the creditors to the negotiating table. He did not attend Monday’s meeting, but his attorney Ed Lawson said Bariteau is in the process of negotiating with First American Title Co.
“I believe that Jack Bariteau will be the developer of this piece of property, and will work diligently with the financial institution toward an agreement.”
Community Development and Economic Director Lisa Horowitz wrote a recommendation in favor of the amendment to the third extension Bariteau received on the project. The extension requires Bariteau to begin construction on the property by Oct. 6, 2015. The agreement was amended to allow Bariteau until April 6, 2015, to submit a construction mitigation plan, which must be recorded before a building permit can be issued.
The proposal for Hotel Ketchum calls for a four-star, 73-room facility at the southeast corner of Main Street and River Street. Bariteau has stated the project will cost $52 million to build.
During the public comments, questions were raised of the council’s transparency in disclosing Baritau’s default. Councilman Michael David defended the council’s handling of the situation.
“The point is—and it’s a good one—that something’s coming before us to make a decision with financial implications,” David said. “We’re putting it all out there, even to explain it to someone like me that this is just a formality or a tactic or whatever, it is just so we know.”
Before the amendment came to a vote, Councilman Baird Gourlay voiced his confidence in Bariteau.
“I believe that Jack Bariteau will be the developer of this piece of property, and will work diligently with the financial institution toward an agreement,” Gourlay said.
Councilman Jim Slanetz said he doesn’t believe the possible default is a decisive factor.
“What he owes on the property is pretty low compared to bigger picture on the whole development cost,” Slanetz said. “He owes over $2 million, but it’s kind of a drop in the bucket with the whole development cost. It’s not a make or break with this percentage of the construction cost.”
Bariteau began the approval process in 2006, spending $500,000 on his efforts until receiving approval in 2008. Since then, he has been working to acquire financing for the project. He said he hopes to begin construction on the hotel next fall.
Eric Avissar: email@example.com