Jackson employer seeks to build Victor apartments
At least one member of almost 80 percent of Victor households commutes to Jackson, which sometimes leads residents to question why Jackson employers don’t help address the housing shortage in Teton Valley. Now Noble House Hotels and Resorts, the parent company of Teton Village's Hotel Terra and Teton Mountain Lodge, wants to build employee housing in Victor.
At its March 20 meeting, the Victor planning and zoning commission will review the design and site plan for the Westgroup Village, consisting of three five-unit apartment buildings across Main Street from the Knotty Pine. Some of the units will be two-bedroom and some will be studio apartments. The units will be prefab modulars by Zip Kit Homes out of Pocatello.
“Our goal is to make very nice housing with a low barrier to entry,” said Tyler Barker, area general manager for Hotel Terra and Teton Mountain Lodge.
Barker estimated that 30 to 35 percent of the hotels’ employees already live in Teton Valley and Alpine. With the improving START bus service and the prohibitive cost of living in Jackson, he said building employee housing in Victor was the logical next step.
Noble House already owns employee housing in Jackson but it’s dormitory-style and geared toward seasonal workers. The Victor project will be long-term rentals for year-round employees. In gauging interest, Barker has already heard from seven or eight people who have verbally committed to renting in Westgroup Village.
“When we’re recruiting regionally or nationally, that’s always the first question, where to live,” he said. “We’re trying to answer that question with this project.”
He said Noble House is looking at similar projects around the country and the Victor development will serve as a kind of litmus test for them.
In its application Noble House agrees to build part of an alley that the Victor Urban Renewal Agency has planned. The alley is intended to break up the oversized “superblock” between Dogwood and Center Street. Noble House will fund the construction and infrastructure costs of its portion of the alley with the understanding that VURA will later provide reimbursement for the above ground improvements.
“We’re excited to work in the Victor community, with the neighbor over the hill,” Barker said. “People go over there for music, the mountain biking is a little better, the fishing is a little better. There are a lot of upsides. The lifestyle is as good there as it is in Jackson.”
City planner Josh Wilson said that while this is the first instance of a Jackson employer developing housing in Victor, it might not be the last.
“It all depends on if it proves to work, if they feel like they’re getting their value,” he said.
The P&Z public hearing is on Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. at
Victor City Hall. Comments may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.