A $1 million price reduction is advancing the Jackson Hole Land Trust toward its goal of preserving a downtown historic block.
Max Chapman, primary owner of the 135 W. Broadway block that’s home to Cafe Genevieve, Healthy Being Juicery and Persephone Bakery, is reducing the purchase price for the property by $1 million, “significantly increasing the feasibility of the project and facilitating a realistic path forward to the project’s finish line,” a release said.
“We are and have always been very supportive of this project,” Chapman said in a statement. “So much so that we believe that this reduction in sale price will help lead to the project’s success, and demonstrates our seriousness in wanting this outcome for the community.”
After a pending sale of the block threatened to bulldoze the buildings last year, an anonymous family stepped up to put the property under contract. The Jackson Hole Land Trust is raising money to “Save the Block,” or to buy up easements protecting what the community values about the space, including the character of the historic buildings and the green space in between.
Up against an Aug. 14 deadline to close on the property, the Land Trust has $2.5 million left to raise, President Laurie Andrews said.
“With Max willing to do this, we see the path forward,” Andrews said. “We see the finish line.”
The plan is that the anonymous family will purchase the property at closing. Then the block will be divided into pieces for various purposes.
“Every piece is spoken for and we know where we’re going with every piece of the project,” Andrews said.
The northwest corner, pending a rezoning by town of Jackson, will be sold by the anonymous family for “thoughtful development,” the family’s attorney Robbin Levy Mommsen said. The southeast corner is likely to go to the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum for its new campus and to accommodate its historic buildings.
Once approved by the town of Jackson, the plan is for the historic lots that are home to the three restaurants on the block to be divided and be sold to the restaurant operators, Mommsen said.
“What is existing on that property today is what we really want to save,” Mommsen said. “Having the historic operators buy their own buildings at least for the foreseeable future means it’s not going to change.”
For Jessica Vandenbroeke, owner of Healthy Being Juicery, the chance to purchase the cabin it has inhabited for seven years and secure the future of the juicery is “unbelievable.”
“What it represents for us is that it gives us the opportunity to become further invested in and become caretakers of a historic and significant part of our hometown,” she said.
The “Save the Block” project has raised about $4.1 million from 3,200 donors to date, according to the Land Trust. That includes a successful challenge grant to raise $4 million by the Fourth of July — celebrated at the holiday parade last week with a float and a picnic at the block.
“The 3,000 gifts and $4 million milestone was huge for the project, and with that amount of support behind the project in such a brief time we feel optimistic heading into our last month of fundraising that we will reach our goal,” Andrews said.
All the pieces of the complex project coming together means the Land Trust’s total fundraising goal has declined from $8 million to about $6.5 million total to close on the property with the protecting easements.