Warm Springs Ranch plan approved by Ketchum city council

Local developer comes to an option agreement with the mayor and city council for them to buy 64 of his 78 acres for $9 million.
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 8:35 AM MDT
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KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —On Monday night the Ketchum city council unanimously approved a plan with a local developer that will create new housing in the area, but also preserve a special part of the community for generations to come.

Ketchum developer Bob Brennan told KMVT for about 25 years he dreamt of purchasing the 78 acres Warm Springs Ranch property, and about a year ago his dream came true.

“It is just not a park for dogs. It is really a social outlet for our whole community, and that is going to be even more so with this pandemic,” said Brennan. “People come here and certainly bring their dogs, but they also socialize so this has been a great outlet for our community.

Now that he owns it he wants to keep it that way, and the city is going to help him do it. Brennan recently came to an option agreement with the mayor and city council for them to buy 64 of his 78 acres for $9 million that can be paid over the course of a year. Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw said the majority of the funds will be raised through fundraising and donation. The city plans to maintain the property as a public park and preserve.

“It is a truly magical area of our town. Now we have the opportunity to preserve and protect it for generations to come,” Bradshaw said.

He also said the person who owned the property before Brennan had a different vision, The previous owner had the land zoned and approved to build a hotel and condominiums, but Bradshaw said that did not proceed for a variety of reasons.

However, the mayor is pleased that Brennan’s vision is very aligned with what the community is looking for.

“This is the heart of Ketchum, and without it, everything would be affected and changed, " said Ketchum resident Bridget Bagley. “It is so beautifully located right at the base of Balding and on the river, and the generosity of a man to understand that too, to give it back is grand.”

Brennan said the city is purchasing the property at a discount, compared to what he could have received on the open market. Nine million dollars is well below market value.

“I wasn’t looking for the maximum gain monetarily. I wanted to do something for the community,” said Brennan. That is about as simple as it gets.”

He said many people over the years have had many visions of what should happen to the property, but 99% of the people are appreciative that it is going to stay as a preserved park for the community for generations to come.

However, he is planning to develop 35 lots for residential housing on the remaining 14 acres, which he thinks he won’t have any problem selling.

“Well basically you can build 25 feet from this creek here, and you are only three minutes from town, and three minutes from the Warm Springs Ski Lift,” Brennan said.

He said he is already in the process of getting lots prepared and paved with blacktop in the upcoming months. Brennan said there are not many lots available in Ketchum right now for housing projects. The houses being built on his lots will be higher-end homes in the millions of dollars range, but Bradshaw said three of the lots will be used for affordable housing.

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