A luxury condo complex about the size of Teton Mountain Lodge — with plans for a private sushi bar and virtual golf room — is in the works for Teton Village.
The planned location is a 3.26-acre forested lot just north of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s skier bridge to the Aerial Tram.
Rob DesLauriers, a developer behind Teton Mountain Lodge and Hotel Terra, is representing the owners of the property, who have held it since 2012. The development doesn’t have a name yet, so he’s open to suggestions.
He said the project will be about 134,000 square feet. That’s compared to the roughly 362,000 square feet at the Four Seasons, roughly 140,000 at Teton Mountain Lodge and 100,000 at Hotel Terra, he said. Although it’s on a slope, the building will be four stories and as tall as the Four Seasons at 62.5 feet.
“It will be highly amenitized,” DesLauriers said. “Given that it’s a residential project, it’s going to have hotel-style amenities like indoor/outdoor swimming pools, a spa area. It’s not heavily staffed, per se, but it has a lot of things for people to do within the building.”
An application with the county shows that includes a private bar and lounge, and rooms for games, fitness and yoga. Parking for owners and guests will be totally underground, accessed via Cody Lane. The amenities would be for owners and guests only, except for a slope-side restaurant.
“My dream is to bring an operator from Italy or France that runs those mountain-type restaurants here for the winter,” DesLauriers said. “It’ll literally be right on the ski run.”
DesLauriers said the building’s condo units will be sold individually and short-term rented, with the possibility of subdividing the units into about 45 lock-offs. Building a luxury residential project was more appealing than a hotel, he said, because it requires less staff in a seasonal economy.
“Honestly, because of the seasonality hotels don’t pencil out,” DesLauriers said. “They’re not economically feasible. Staffing levels are so high, and the construction costs and land costs are so high, and the occupancy is so seasonal.
“This is a luxury residential property with somebody there to take care of you, but it’s not going to be like a hotel,” he said.
The project is already allowed under the 1998 Teton Village Master Plan, though it will still have public hearings before the Teton County Planning Commission and Teton County Commissioners, former county planning manager Susan Johnson said.
“The board does not have any discretion to deny the project if the proposal meets all the requirements of the master plan and LDRs,” Johnson said in an email. However, she said, the board has discretion on four requested variances, which ask for an exception to height limits to allow for an underground parking garage and a gabled roof.
“Our vision is sort of European with the feel of it,” DesLauriers said.
The county requires the project to provide about 22 restricted housing units, according to the application. The developer originally proposed building 8,300 square feet of housing onsite — like seasonal worker dorms and an innkeeper apartment — and additionally paying to place permanent deed restrictions on 18 units at Old West Cabins south of town.
But planning staff rejected that proposal. Johnson said that plan was “not approvable.”
DesLauriers said the new plan is to deed restrict 26 units at a new housing project on South Park Loop Road to fulfill housing requirements, in addition to the housing onsite in Teton Village.
“It’s a heavy burden, but we’re going to overbuild it anyway, because there’s a practical reality to what you need,” he said. “The reality is we need seasonal workforce housing, every business in Jackson needs seasonal workforce housing. In addition to the required mitigation we have to build some seasonal housing, it’s just a reality.”
The project will require shifting the ski run that accesses the skier bridge toward the tram line, DesLauriers said. The mountain resort owns a ski easement that protects the run.
“We’re working closely with the Ski Corporation to scoot it over,” he said.
The developer is hoping for an approval from the Teton County Board of Commissioners by Christmas, a groundbreaking in summer 2020 and an opening by Christmas 2022.
The same lot was slated for a boutique luxury hotel around 2007, but that plan fell through as a result of the economic recession.
Only a handful of lots remain undeveloped in the core of Teton Village. Johnson said Teton Village is about 50% built out, but that’s just the main resort area and doesn’t include Teton Village Area 2. Area 2 was approved in 2005 and is expected to have 280 free-market units, 100 affordable units and employee rental units for 151 people at eventual buildout. That area includes Shooting Star and the area near Teton Thai.