Kudars look to upgrade
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: November 10, 2012
The 80-year-old Kudar Motel on North Cache Street could soon be replaced by a three-story, full-service hotel by its longtime family owners.
While the transformation could be an upgrade for Jackson’s northern entryway, historical buildings could be lost.
Preliminary plans for the project, submitted to town staff earlier this week, show a 94,000-square-foot hotel with 151 rooms, a courtyard and a pond.
A building constructed near the turn of the 20th century and located at the back of the property would come down, according to the plans.
The Kudar Motel, christened as Kudar’s Log Cabin Lodge when the family opened it in 1934, now consists of 17 freestanding cabins, many of which were built in the 1930s, and a motel building with 14 rooms.
Fifteen of the cabins are designated as historic by the Teton County Historic Preservation Board, as are one residential building, a utility barn and a neon sign.
The century-old building was once the residence of the owner but now acts as a rental, according to a News&Guide column from 2006.
The plans show that two of the cabins would be incorporated into the new hotel.
“There’s some historical buildings there, there’s no question about it,” said Bob Norton of Nelson Engineering, a firm working on the project.
Plans for the new hotel may change, but most of the historic buildings aren’t included in the current plans, he said.
The entire lot is designated as a historic and significant property by the Teton County Historic Preservation Board.
“It’s entirely honorary,” Jesse O’Connor, vice president of the board, said of the designation.
The board would like, at the very least, to see the oldest building preserved, but the designation from the board doesn’t prevent anyone from demolishing buildings, he said.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” O’Connor said.
The board isn’t sure of the exact age of the building, but it is estimated to date back to about 1900, O’Connor said.
“We’ve heard different dates for that one,” he said.
The motel is said to be one of the first in-town lodging businesses built to cater to an increasing number of automobile tourists in the 1930s and ’40s. The property once housed a gas station, but that was demolished in 1962 to make way for an office.
The Kudar Motel and members of the Kudar family did not return calls for comment Friday.
Jackson Hole Snow Mobile Tours runs its operations from a building located on the lot’s border with North Cache Street.
The proposed hotel would be constructed next to the Bridger-Teton National Forest headquarters.
“With this project, the Kudar family’s objective is to guide the property through its next evolution by providing today’s visitors with the lodging services they desire,” the family said in a statement released yesterday.