105 mercill ave

Tyler Davis, the lead developer of the Mercill Avenue Condos, helps his daughter, Reagan, 3, into a front-end loader at the project’s groundbreaking celebration Wednesday. The development is a mixed-use property that will provide 20 one-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom homes and 6,800 square feet of commercial space.

Prices are set to start at $325,000 for one-bedroom units in the forthcoming 30-apartment complex that broke ground Wednesday at 105 Mercill Ave.

“I’m really just excited to get more inventory for local workers in the county,” developer Tyler Davis said. “We have a huge need. This won’t solve any problems, but hopefully it’ll help.”

Davis chatted with the Jackson Hole Daily on Wednesday shortly after he, Chris Lee and Joe Rice, his partners on the project, shoveled dirt and ate barbecue with four members of the Teton County Board of County Commissioners and Jackson Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson. They were commemorating the start of construction on the Mercill Avenue Condos, a project that saw Teton County provide the land and move historical properties off the site. Davis, Lee and Rice designed the building and contracted construction.

Davis said he and his partners put about $2 million into the project. The county’s contributions — land and historic property relocation — are valued at roughly $2.2 million, according to its website.

All the apartments will be encumbered with the county’s “workforce” deed restrictions, legal tools that aim to set housing aside for Jackson Hole workers.

Twelve of the 30 units may be purchased by employers, who will be able to rent the homes to employees. The remaining 18 will be sold to households that qualify for the “workforce” program.

The workforce restrictions will require at least one member of the household occupying the apartments to work full-time locally, and the entire household to make 75% of its combined income from Teton County businesses. They disqualify people who own residential real estate within 150 miles of Teton County.

The workforce restrictions on the 105 Mercill project will also limit appreciation to a maximum of 3% per year in an effort to keep housing stock affordable.

While anyone can buy one of the properties, the price of workforce deed-restricted housing is targeted at those who make more than 120% of median family income in the valley, roughly $160,000 for a one-person household. That’s an income bracket that is too high to qualify for government “affordable” programs, which determine eligibility and cap prices based on income.

Davis said the apartment prices will start at $325,000 for the smallest, one-bedroom apartment — 481 square feet — or $675 per square foot. Twelve of the 30 apartments will be between 481 and 500 square feet, Davis said. On the upper end of the spectrum, the price of an approximately 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment will likely land around $690,000. That would be roughly $627 per square foot.

“It’s good news,” said April Norton, director of the Jackson/Teton County Housing Department. “That is certainly below market rate right now.”

Currently, a 591-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in East Jackson is listed and set to go under contract for $535,000, or roughly $905 per square foot. And a slew of 960-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath units in the new West View Condominiums complex are listed — and also mostly set to go under contract — for $700,000 and up, about $729 per square foot.

But, while the Mercill Avenue Condos could be some of the lower priced apartments in the valley right now, they would not be the cheapest.

Norton’s department recently listed a 2 bedroom, 1.5-bath apartment in the 810 West complex for $267,590. But that unit does carry an “affordable” deed restriction. It is available to people who make between 80% and 120% of median family income, between $73,984 and $110,976 for a two-person household.

Davis said he and his partners hope to pre-sell the apartments this summer, though the units won’t be finished for around 16 months. He said the website for the complex — 105Mercill.com — would be launched soon, and people will then be able to email the developers to get on a list to purchase the units.

“We’d like to have everything pre-sold, ready to go this summer, way in advance,” he said. “I think it’s a benefit to everyone.”

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

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