Groathouse Construction could be operating from a new building before year’s end.
The company is temporarily using office space above The Thistle on Rumsey. The hope is to start utility work on a four-acre lot at 3630 Big Horn this month, said Cayde O’Brien, the company’s reconstruction manager.
While the square footage is basically the same, all rooms in the new building will be on one floor whereas the company had operated from two levels in the former brick structure since 2009.
“We’d always intended to renovate the old one or buy new,” O’Brien said.
A quick sale of the Groathouse property helped with the decision. In late 2019, Kanye West, an international Grammy-winning star and Yeezy fashion entrepreneur, finalized a five-lot purchase of Groathouse property, adding it to an earlier purchase of the former Mountain Equipment land and building across from Fremont Motors.
The Groathouse transaction, which included the office building at 3304 Big Horn, was between West’s Psalm Cody Commercial and GC Cody, a Wyoming limited liability company with offices in Cody and Laramie. Fred Bronnenberg and Pat McLeod are Groathouse president and vice president.
The new building will go next to a cliff at the south end of a lot, just a few blocks east of the former Groathouse location. The land, vacant except for an old wood shed, sits between Kip B. Thiel Construction to the west and a few houses to the east on land zoned commercial.
On March 10, the City of Cody Planning and Zoning Board approved site plans and architecture. Groathouse continues to work through the building permit process.
Anthony and Tracy Clark’s home at 3706 Big Horn is adjacent to the east side of the Groathouse site. Their property was annexed into city limits about 25 years ago as part of the Country Estates Subdivision.
At the P&Z meeting, Tracy Clark spoke about Groathouse is proposed site plan, saying she’d thought the building and 21-space paved parking lot would be reversed, placing the building closest to the Clarks’ house.
She also hoped both would be built farther north toward the road.
“It’s obstructing our view of Spirit (Cedar) Mountain,” she said.
Plus, with the parking lot on the west side of the building, there will be less disrupted dirt near her house, she said.
“I’d rather look at the building than a parking lot,” she said.
Clark further argued the property serves as a major deer crossing and is an archeological site.
“I’ll be excited when they dig holes,” she said. “They will find Indian artifacts.”
She asked the P&Z to consider people who have lived there since it was county land.
“I’m sympathetic to construction next to your property,” said Richard Jones, P&Z member. “However, it was zoned (commercial) when annexed in 1994.”
Rob Bauer, Groathouse project manager, said the company wants the building to blend into the hillside.
A 10-foot-wide, gravel lane will wrap around to the east for garbage trucks so they don’t have to back up and turn around. Trash is collected once per week.
“We really tried to make it appealing to the neighborhood,” Bauer said.
Use of soffit lighting around the building and a full cutoff fixture in the parking lot will help contain light.
O’Brien attended the P&Z meeting with Bauer.
“We are not a busy office,” she said, addressing potential traffic disruption.
They are too far in the process to move the building location, O’Brien said.
City planner Todd Stowell praised the architecture for its variation in materials and varied roof line,”
“Overall, it’s a good project,” Stowell said. “It will be a good example that we can point out to others.”
His comments were positive regarding landscaping too. For the most part, existing cottonwoods will remain and Groathouse intends to plant a few more trees and some lawn.
The location is considered an entry corridor that carries a 5% landscaping requirement. While the building will sit to the back, a portion of the land at the entrance borders Big Horn.
Although landscaping covers about 10% of the property, therefore exceeding the minimum, Stowell encouraged Groathouse to add some landscaping near the entrance.
“Just something there to add to the corridor,” he said.