County commissioners will pick up a debate over who should develop county-owned land next to the Children’s Learning Center at 105 Mercill Ave. at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Teton County is contributing about $2.1 million in land for the project, and a handful of developers are vying to build a housing complex on the site. So far commissioners haven’t reached a consensus on who should build the housing.

Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing Director April Norton is recommending a proposal from developers Tyler Davis and Joe Rice, as Mercill Partners.

“They do give us the most units, the most bedrooms,” Norton said. “They house the most people, they have below grade parking, they maximize the site, and they’re willing to work with us on the design aesthetic.”

Davis and Rice’s design offers 31 units with 45 bedrooms, an outdoor courtyard with 6,700 square feet of common space, underground parking and 6,513 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

“We felt really strongly, when we looked at this project, about maximizing the bedrooms,” Rice said. “If you want to get to the 65% the county and town’s trying to get to, this is the way to do it.”

The 65% is the amount of workers the county aims to house locally.

Commissioner Mark Barron supported the Mercill Partners proposal for the reasons Norton listed.

“The goal is to put the most people into housing that we can in a livable way,” Barron said. “The 500-square-foot apartments or condominiums do that.”

For Commissioners Mark Newcomb and Luther Propst, a 24- or 25-unit, 36- or 37-bedroom proposal from the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust was compelling, particularly in its goal to provide ground-floor commercial space to the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum.

“I’m struck by the opportunity there is with that project to combine our desire for workforce housing with our desire for dealing more effectively with day care,” Propst said.

Commissioner Natalia Macker was impressed by a 27-unit, 33-bedroom proposal from the firm Onion Flats. It’s the only project that is all-residential and surpasses sustainability requirements by promising to be a net-zero energy building.

“The Onion Flats proposal really inspires me,” Macker said. “If we think about 10 or 15 or 20 years from now, what we want our decisions to have reflected in the community, I think bold, strong action on decisions like that could be really powerful.”

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063 or county@jhnewsandguide.com.

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.