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A proposed multi-use building will span a full city block on Main Street in Ketchum between Fourth and Fifth streets and offer retail space and three levels of residential units, along with underground parking.

The Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission advanced three projects and stalled one on Monday night.

A pre-design review application was approved for one mixed-use, two-story building at the corner of Fourth and Walnut streets, design review moved forward for the Ketchum Boutique Hotel and a preliminary plat application was approved for a 10-unit townhome development on Bird Drive.

Stalled is a 59,130-square-foot mixed-use building that would take over Main Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, where Irving’s Red Hots stands in the summer and Formula Sports currently sits.

The development is proposed to be four stories, with retail shops on the ground level, residential units on the three upper floors and a 16-spot underground parking garage with access from Fifth Street.

However, P&Z commissioners opted to keep the project in pre-design review. The panel asked the developer to return next month. That, it hopes, will allow for some adjustments to be made to a design proposal that currently uses three elements, two colors and rectangular shapes.

“The building looks like a layered-wedding-cake due to the lack of vertical integration,” the city’s staff report states.

Developer Chris Ensign appeared dumbfounded by the comments, saying he listened to all the feedback during a January meeting and thought he had implemented those suggestions and has kept the integrity of the downtown core in mind when creating this design.

Calling the proposed building Warfield’s cousin and Enoteca’s younger brother, Ensign said he spent a lot of time assessing current architecture in the downtown core when establishing the design, but commissioners were still not sold on Monday night and asked for more integrated elements that visually separate the building to look less monolithic.

Ensign and city staff said they would continue to work together prior to next month’s meeting on April 13 to come up with a more cohesive design.

Beyond gaining approval for the design, the developer also faces pushback that the proposed building would mean the demolishment of Formula Sports at the corner of Main and Fifth streets, an A-frame building that used to house the Ketchum post office.

“We’re losing the character of the town,” Ketchum resident Diane Goodwin said during the public comment.

Other projects

Graham Whipple of Resign Architecture presented the pre-application design review for the project at Fourth and Walnut. The project will consist of eight office spaces, two two-bedroom penthouse residential units and a coffee shop. The basement would contain at least two apartments for employee housing. The project would require demolishing three buildings, Maude’s Coffee and Clothes at the corner of Walnut and Fourth streets, Premier Cleaners on Fourth Street and business offices on Walnut Street next to the Gold Mine thrift store.

Beyond a scarcity of parking—only four spaces—that does fall within city code requirements, commissioners found the design acceptable and moved the application to full design review.

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