Is an end to the Kanye West era near in Cody? A number of signs are starting to emerge that the billionaire hip hop star and clothing designer is starting to phase out his operations in the city.
Late last week, Kanye West put up for sale seven of his commercial properties off Big Horn Avenue for more than $3.2 million.
The parcels housed or were associated with his Yeezy brand that performs some of its operations in Cody.
Most noticeably, the structure popularly referred to as the “Yeezy tent,” the most visible focal point of his local activities, along with the land it sits on, is being sold on a 3.76 acre parcel for $1.3 million. In addition to that 6,000 square foot “heated tension fabric building,” a 4,800 square foot prefabricated metal building is also on the property, which was the headquarters of Mountain Construction, from Which West purchased the property in October 2019.
West’s representatives told city staff at that time the tent was intended to be a temporary storage structure that would not be up for longer than six months, but the City of Cody Planning and Zoning Commission later gave West an extension in 2020 that will expire Nov. 15. Any prospective buyer would have to consider this stipulation in their plans for the property.
Also being sold is a 2-acre commercial property with a 6,900 square foot building on it at a price of $739,000. This building on Big Horn Avenue has five bedrooms in the basement and five more multi-purpose rooms on the main floor with laundry and a full kitchen.
West is also selling five vacant lots he purchased on 33rd and Stone streets. Three of these properties are being sold for $138,000 each, another is listed at $200,000, and a fifth lot with full utility hookups and directly facing Big Horn is being sold for $549,000.
All of these properties are registered under West’s Psalm Cody Commercial, LLC.
West purchased five of the properties from GC Cody, an entity run by Fred Bronnenberg, president of Groathouse Construction.
He is also subleasing property on County Road 2AB for $108,000 a year from pharmaceutical company Lannett which is leasing the property from Forward Cody. Since Lannett still pays the rent, Forward Cody CEO James Klessens could not officially confirm Yeezy is pulling out from the property but said he heard “rumors” this is the case. He said he already has a new tenant ready to rent the property.
It was here West and his staff constructed a temporary modular structure and added additional parking to the old Cody Labs facility.
Beginning of the end?
The flurry of sales raise questions about West’s long-term intentions regarding his personal and professional life in Cody. Although Yeezy is still pumping out products, including the recent release of a sweatshirt being sold at the Gap, there have been far fewer sightings of his staff around town than his first year in town.
West and his staff made multiple pronouncements in 2019 and 2020 about providing jobs and economic stimulus to the local economy. These commitments never came to fruition in any permanent way for residents as nearly all of his full-time employees were sourced from other areas and were still fairly low in total number.
After being a semi-regularly seen fixture around Cody in late 2019 and the first half of 2020, West sightings became increasingly rare thereafter. He did make an appearance at the Cody Rec Center on election day that November when he cast a well-publicized vote for himself for president.
The very last piece to the West puzzle is also the one that started it all – his 4,524-acre ranch formerly known as Monster Lake. West made his purchase in late summer 2019 and quickly made his presence well known about a month later when he held a Sunday Service concert at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, drawing around 3,500 attendees from the entire Rocky Mountain region.
His wife Kim Kardashian – they’ve since separated – and their children visited the ranch multiple times, drawing paparazzi and other celebrity hunters in their wake. Kardashian made disparaging remarks about the ranch publicly and was never frequently seen there.
In a recent episode of “Keeping Up the Kardashians,” she revealed she had allowed West to live in different states for much of their relationship but that over time she realized the distance was destroying their marriage. The couple filed for divorce in February.
Neither his West Ranch nor his other ranch outside Shell have been listed for sale.