Celebrity Kanye West has expanded his property ownership in Cody with the purchase of a business lot and building on Cody’s east side.
The recent buyer of Monster Lake Ranch outside of Cody is not only a Grammy-winning recording artist, he’s a Yeezy brand fashion designer and entrepreneur.
According to Forbes, his Adidas Yeezy label is expected to hit $1.5 billion in sales by the end of 2019.
How far his entrepreneurship ventures extend to Cody is yet to be seen. But West has purchased the Mountain Equipment property across the road from Fremont Motors where a temporary storage shed is set to go up as soon as possible.
The City of Cody Planning and Zoning Board on Tuesday approved site plans for a tan-colored, 4,800-square-foot prefabricated structure on a temporary basis.
“It’s intended to be in place for less than six months,” Todd Stowell, city planner, said.
He said the structure is for temporary storage of materials and merchandise related to apparel and music businesses that eventually will be conducted from a building on the property.
Few other details are public; however, Laurie Swan, who owns Mountain Equipment with her husband Steve, confirmed West now owns the property at 3202 Big Horn.
The transaction happened relatively quickly.
Laurie Swan said West first contacted Lance Bower, agent with Canyon Real Estate in Cody, about the property and that West made contact with the Swans in September. The sale was closed by mid-October.
Equipment lined up along the frontage is now gone. The couple, who moved Mountain Equipment from Montana three years ago, will move out of the building come November. Laurie Swan said they are searching for a new location for their Mountain Equipment dealership.
Dennis Mohatt, a planning draftsman with the Sheridan-based Alpine Home, represented West’s Psalm Cody Commercial, a newly-formed Wyoming limited liability company, at the P&Z meeting.
The initial filing document with the secretary of state shows the principal office at 3202 Big Horn – address of the future storage structure – and a mailing address in La Palma, Calif.
Mohatt said he is working closely with Alaska Structures, the Anchorage-based company supplying the engineered fabric building.
Construction is set to begin as soon as possible.
“These things go up quickly,” Mohatt said. “The urgency here is snow will soon start flying.”
Stowell said the structure will sit “kind of in the middle” of the property, and the tent will go on a concrete pad, which will become part of a parking lot in the future.
Cody contractors Blankenship Quality Concrete has applied for the building permit.
P&Z members approved by unanimous vote the site plan application with stipulation the company must take it down within 60 days after the 180 day temporary period.
“If the thing’s still there after a year, then we have a problem,” Richard Jones, P&Z board member, said.
That would not be a problem, Mohatt said.
Stowell shared city staff’s concern about the 180 days.
“I don’t think this structure in this location is appropriate,” he said.
P&Z member Sandi Fisher agreed.
“It’s very visible from the highway,” she said. “That’s a big building.”
Buzzy Hassrick further backed the sentiment.
“It’s not appropriate for a permanent entry corridor location,” Hassrick said.
Mohatt later said underground bunkers would be built for long-term storage.
West’s 3.76-acre property, zoned for open business-light industrial uses, is in front of the Federal Express warehouse and sandwiched between Groathouse Construction and Sherwin Williams on the south side of Big Horn.
The 40-foot-by-120-foot storage structure will sit in front of a two-suite office and shop building, also measuring 4,800 square feet, built in 2016.
An “architecturally compatible” zoning regulation applies to new commercial construction or remodels along Cody’s main entry corridors.
The city does not have set standards. Instead, it’s up to the P&Z board to determine if a proposed building exterior appears similar to surrounding businesses. In this case, the board would compare the fabric building to T-O Engineers, FedEx, Sherwin Williams and the Cody Enterprise. P&Z members often encouraged business owners along the entry corridors to add visual interest such as covered entries, two-toned siding and decorative rock or brick.
“Architecturally, it’s probably not what we want in our entry corridor,” said Stowell on Tuesday, referencing the proposed structure. “Staff is not concerned about a temporary structure. We’d prefer it were behind screening. But that’s not what’s proposed.”
The city requires landscaping on at least 5 percent of the property to met Cody’s Entryway Corridor Overlay District requirements.
As new owner, Psalm Cody Commercial is responsible for completing landscaping by spring.
“Mr. West will fulfill that landscaping requirement,” Mohatt said.
In 2016, the P&Z had agreed to allow Swan to postpone some landscaping. At the point of sale, the property still did not meet the full landscape requirement.
Stowell proposed asking Psalm Cody Commercial for a monetary deposit to guarantee landscaping is finished.
“They need a certificate of occupancy on the building as part of the real estate transaction,” Stowell said to further explain.
The city will not allow occupancy until the funds are received, he said.
Leo Wolfson contributed to this report