I am for community housing and I love Ketchum, and that’s why I oppose Bluebird.
While that might seem contradictory, the more I look into Bluebird, the more I am convinced that the city is not using taxpayer resources to their highest and best use.
The city’s appraisal from 2016 states: “Of the financially feasible uses of the site, there are a number of viable office, retail and/or mixed-use residential uses that would generate a higher residual land value than holding the property for future development. Accordingly, it is our opinion that redevelopment with one or more of these uses is the maximally productive current use of the property.” One hundred percent community housing (Bluebird) was not a highest and best use of this asset in the city’s own appraisal. Despite requests at the city meeting on Bluebird in March, the city has refused to do an up-to-date appraisal. Why?
Under Idaho law, the city is legally required to sell surplus property to the highest bidder. Given that the long-term owner of Bluebird will be KCDC, a nonprofit corporation not associated with the city and not accountable to the citizens of Ketchum, how can the city just give them taxpayer land “for free” as the mayor has put it?
With today’s construction costs and land values, Bluebird looks like it is going to cost about $30 million. That is double what ARCH is spending to build more units than Bluebird down in Hailey.
How can Bluebird possibly make sense for community housing or for Ketchum?
Stefanie Zable, Ketchum