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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of February 13 - 19, 2002


Thomas Development chosen for Town Center project

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Housing Authority voted unanimously to enter into a development agreement with Thomas Development, the Boise-based company that will be the authority’s partner in the proposed town center that would include affordable housing, shops and a visitors center on Ketchum’s Main Street.

Housing director Gates Kellett said the deal for the Town Center project is pretty "bare bones" but defines the authority’s role in the project as having only to do with affordable housing.

To get 20 rental units built and to maintain some control over how they’re managed, the authority will have a .002 percent ownership interest. As the authority’s general partner, Thomas Development will have a .008 percent ownership interest.

The general partners have not yet selected a lender to buy in on the other 99.99 percent to become a limited partner in town center.

Because the authority has no money of its own to build the housing, it is entering into a dizzyingly complex arrangement to entice the developer and a lender to build the housing in exchange for federal housing tax credits.

During a review of the development agreement in a meeting Thursday night, attorney Doug Werth told the authority it would have to limit its involvement in the project to affordable housing. The development agreement would do that, he said.

The authority might file a letter with the Idaho Secretary of State limiting Thomas Development’s control over the affordable housing portion of the project.

Werth said also that the authority could legally be a tenant of the town center.

The public has criticized the authority of proposing a deal that involves commercial development. But Kellet said there are several advantages to the arrangement.

Mixed-used buildings are generally considered a good idea because they allow residents to live close to where they work and shop, she said. And, financing is available at a lower rate for mixed-use buildings.

Responding to critics who said the project is progressing too quickly, Kellett said she wished more citizens had attended public meetings earlier during the project.

"We’re serious when we’re proposing something," she said. "If there’s one thing I want to communicate, that’s it."

In Hailey, Thomas Development built The Balmoral apartments, which use tax credits to offer lower rents.

Town center would be the first project in Ketchum the company’s owner, Thomas Mannshreck, would tackle.

"He’s kind of interested in doing others," said authority chairman David Kipping after meeting with Mannshreck.


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.