Hitching Post FILE

CHEYENNE – Part of the condemned Hitching Post Inn property on the city’s west side could soon see an ownership change.

During Monday’s Cheyenne City Council meeting, Mayor Marian Orr referred a proposed land purchase and sale agreement between the city and Victory Real Estate Management LLC to the council’s Finance Committee for consideration.

Under the agreement, the city would pay $329,630 for property in the easement portion near the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center, as well as buildings 5 and 6, the two northern most hotel buildings on the property.

The Ice and Events Center is without dedicated frontage at its south-facing front entrance to West Lincolnway. The only public access to the center is by driving across the Hitching Post parking lot.

“We’ve never owned the (easement),” Orr said in an interview Monday morning. “We’ve just had broad access, so we’ve never been able to do any improvements. That’s why the sign is the sign that it is, the lighting. We’ll be able to do some great improvements and really beautify that corridor into the Ice and Events Center.”

Once the city takes ownership of the two buildings, Orr said the city will either hold onto them or sell them to an interested developer.

“Certainly there will be lots of council discussion as far as what the city’s needs are for space or if it would be better to sell to a private developer,” she said. “There is a private developer interested in the front portion and developing that – actually there’s more than one developer interested in that.”

The Finance Committee will consider the agreement during its meeting next Monday. The agreement will come back to the full council for consideration later this month.

Ward 1 Councilman Scott Roybal said prior to Monday’s meeting that he would support the city’s purchase of the property.

“There’s some buildings in the back that are not in as bad of shape as the rest of it,” Roybal said. “If we buy them, we would be able to mitigate that. We need to get something going over there. It’s a gateway to the city, and it looks bad.”

The hotel was once a center of Cheyenne society and an informal dormitory to state legislators during winter sessions away from home.

The hotel filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and a fire destroyed its front building in 2010.

In 2013, a partner in a new ownership group pleaded guilty to arson, and two years later, the then-owner pleaded guilty to insurance fraud.

Water service and power were cut off in the fall of 2017.

City building safety officials last December condemned the Hitching Post Inn and gave its owner 60 days to demolish the buildings.

Former chief building official Blas Hernandez issued the order, writing to New Jersey-based owner Dipalie Jariwalla that an inspection found her hotel “unfit for human habitation” and impractical to repair.

Jariwalla filed an appeal with the city in January, arguing that an appeals board should reverse the condemnation order because it set an unrealistic demolition deadline, listed no specific code violations and went after a building in no imminent danger of collapse.

The appeal said those failings go against the city’s own rules and raise due-process issues.

The condemnation proceedings against the property remain pending and unresolved.

Cheyenne firefighters put out another fire in December in a room at the condemned inn. That fire appeared to start in a lower apartment and spread to the top floor in the hallway.

Steve Knight is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. He can be reached at 307-633-3182 or sknight@wyomingnews.com.

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