The Hailey City Council approved on Wednesday a proposed second amendment to a development agreement for Fapo Holdings, Idaho that will allow relocation or demolition of a historic Forest Service building that houses the Wood River Sustainability Center to make way for a parking lot.
The agreement marks an apparent end to a controversy that pitted a commercial developer against residents and city committee members eager to preserve the city’s architectural history.
“Thank you for working diligently on this,” City Councilman Pat Cooley told Fapo representatives.
The agreement restricts removal of the 1936 building at 308. S. River St. until July 1 to give the city and other entities time to find a new home for it.
Fapo representative Jeremy Lange said the Sustainability Center building was the “most urgent” of four Forest Service buildings owned by Fapo on the Forest Service block between River Street and Main Street likely to be moved.
Lange is a listing agent for FAPO’s Village at Hailey Center’s mixed-use commercial complex at 314 S. River St., adjacent to the Sustainability Center. He has previously said the three-story, 26,000-square-foot building has a potential tenant consisting of a surgeon’s group that would require a new 26-space parking lot and additional driveway access.
Under the agreement, the City Council restricted notice of removal or demolition of three other buildings in the historic Forest Service compound until after Jan 1, 2024, to buy time to preserve those buildings as well.
The Sage School in Hailey has expressed a desire to relocate the entire compound to a new campus in Quigley Canyon.
Lange said Wednesday that Fapo would agree to provide $20,000 to help move the Sustainability Center building if a new owner of the building is identified, to save it from demolition.
The agreement stipulates that the Forest Service buildings be donated to the city, a nonprofit organization or private entity that would allow public access to them, pending city approval.