Ketchum agency eyes affordable housing at downtown site

The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency is studying options for developing the public parking lot on Washington Avenue between First and Second streets, which it owns.

What is now Ketchum’s largest parking lot will soon become a housing development, and the owner of the lot, the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency, has to decide if it’s worth spending $5 million to $13 million to keep public parking at the new development.

The First and Washington parking lot was identified by the city as a parcel ripe for redevelopment in the midst of the area’s housing crisis. In an effort to increase the number of Ketchum workers who live in the city, the KURA is contracting with Boise-based developer deChase Miksis and the Wood River Community Housing Trust to construct a four-story project in the heart of downtown. The building aims to serve residents earning between 100% and 150% of the area median income, according to the city, though the percentages are subject to change. The city retained the firm Desman Parking to analyze parking options for the project. Desman staff came up with seven options, presented at a meeting Monday, which drew a variety of reactions from the KURA.

The $5 million to $13 million price tag was simply too much for Commissioners Tyler Davis-Jeffers and Jim Slanetz.

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