In December, developer Jack Bariteau provided proof of the $80 million in financing he needed to continue a hotel project slated to be built at the southern entrance to Ketchum. Since then, little to no progress has been made on the River Street project, currently known as the Harriman Hotel, though it is required to be completed by the end of 2021.
The development, which has been in the works since 2008, has been stalled by the ripple effects of the 2008 recession, high water levels of Trail Creek and a lack of stable funding.
The project received a boost of support in December when developer and property owner Bariteau presented the City Council with proof of financing, including a 25-page booklet created by MAKR Hospitality, the development’s management firm. Funding came through in the form of a $60 million private construction loan from Delaware-based Mosaic Real Estate Investors and $20 million from private investors, according to Bariteau’s attorney, Ed Lawson.
Construction was expected to begin this spring, but according to Assistant City Administrator Lisa Enourato, the city did not receive any COVID-19 contractors affidavits for the Harriman Hotel site, a requirement put in place on April 20 when the city lifted a two-week ban on construction and landscaping. That requirement was lifted on May 1. Two months later, the project continues to appear stalled.
The Mountain Express made several attempts to contact Bariteau directly and through his attorney to get a clear statement on the status of the hotel. As of Thursday, he has not responded to those requests.
According to emails between the city and Bariteau obtained by the Express, a site inspection was to take place by June 1 for the project’s building permit to stay valid. In an email to the paper, Enourato said the building permit inspection is still under review by the city’s Division of Building Safety. When asked, neither she nor Mayor Neil Bradshaw would tell the paper when the inspection occurred.
The emails also show that Bariteau met with city representatives, including Bradshaw, on June 10 at the mayor’s request.
“A discussion occurred about the status of the project,” Enourato said of the meeting in an email sent to the Mountain Express on June 24. “Nothing was resolved at the meeting.”
In an email sent to the Mountain Express on Monday, Bradshaw said the meeting involved a discussion on the status of the Harriman Hotel project, including a reminder to Bariteau of his obligations and deadlines and discussion on how to move his project toward completion.
However, Bradshaw said, “the city cannot speak as to his ongoing plans and intentions.”
Per the development agreement between Bariteau and the city, the hotel must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021. An employee housing project that is expected to house some of the hotel’s future employees is also supposed to be completed by the same date.
At full buildout, the project is projected be a 62-room, 12-residence luxury hotel, according to renderings.