Lotus Townhomes- Exterior Courtyard FILE

An artist rendering of the Lotus Townhomes offers a first glimpse of the townhomes’ exterior and the courtyard they’ll surround. The Cheyenne City Council approved a replat of the area they’ll cover at West 17th Street and O’Neil Avenue on Monday night. TDSi – The Design Studio, Inc./courtesy

CHEYENNE – Developer John Dinneen’s plans for the first new downtown homes in decades won a key stamp of approval Monday night, with the Cheyenne City Council voting unanimously to approve a replat of the area.

Council members said nothing before a voice vote, but Mayor Marian Orr was ecstatic in a later interview, applauding Dinneen’s work demolishing a vacant Cupid’s Adult Bookstore to make way for the residential development city leaders say downtown sorely needs.

“This is exactly what we have been so hungry for with fighting the blight, with taking care of properties on the west side,” she said. “They’re killing it.”

The plans call for 10 townhomes over a third of a block at West 17th Street and O’Neil Avenue, each of which Dinneen said will feature roughly 1,900 square feet of space, two-car garages, three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms and open-concept first floors.

Renderings of the development, which Dinneen said in an interview would cost him well over $3 million, reveal modern designs that wouldn’t look out of place in Fort Collins, Colorado, or the Denver suburbs.

Dinneen’s team, which includes architect Randy Byers and Realtor Jon Pietsch, said in interviews they’re looking to draw a mix of young professionals and people who will “summer other places.”

Dinneen’s team also reiterated the mayor’s points about how the development aids city plans to revive downtown and the west side, which rely heavily on attracting more residents to fuel restaurant and retail growth after suburban workers head home.

“The hope is that this catalyzes business,” Byers said. “In every study the city’s done, it’s clear you have to have living beings in downtown 24 hours a day to make it viable.”

The development will also feature a small plaque noting the history of the adult bookstore demolished this summer. In the early 20th century, the building was a Japanese rooming house, restaurant and grocery in a vibrant ethnic enclave.

Construction on the townhomes will begin in this fall; prices will start in the high $300,000s.

In other action

Cheyenne Frontier Days CEO Tom Hirsig faced questions in a public hearing about his organization’s bid for a retail liquor license that previously belonged to Steamboat Steak and Smokehouse.

Hirsig said having the retail license would allow it to cater events in the conference center portion of a multipurpose building it broke ground on in Frontier Park earlier this year, but council members raised questions about whether the coveted license would be in better hands with another restaurant.

The council’s Finance Committee will consider the proposed transfer next week before a full council vote Oct. 8.

City Councilman Rocky Case introduced his much-anticipated resolution canceling the city’s $505,000 contract with the Cheyenne Animal Shelter following Shelter CEO Bob Fecht’s decision to have a young dog pepper sprayed the day after it bit an employee earlier this month.

Case has stressed he isn’t trying to defund the shelter, but sees the move as the first move in stepping up oversight with the independent nonprofit.

The council’s Committee of the Whole – consisting of all council members aside from Mayor Marian Orr – will consider the issue next Wednesday.

Austin Huguelet is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. He can be reached at ahuguelet@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3182. Follow him on Twitter at @ahuguelet.

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