A hotel in Shoshoni? Not a good idea, planning firm says – but modular cabins might work

(Shoshoni, WY) – There isn’t enough demand for a hotel in Shoshoni, but other lodging options – like modular cabins – might be successful, a municipal planning firm reported this week.

Shoshoni had asked the firm to assess the feasibility of a 40-unit hotel in town, and the answer was pretty definitive.

“I can tell you confidently that’s not going to work,” Ben Levenger with Downtown Redevelopment Services told the Shoshoni Town Council during a regular meeting Tuesday.

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The prospect of a 40-room hotel in Shoshoni is “very unlikely” for multiple reasons, Levenger said.

First of all, he said “market conditions warrant more retail, restaurants, and those types of things before overnight accommodations” are constructed.

Without those primary retail opportunities in place, Levenger said “a one-time cash influx would be required” to get a private business to build a hotel in Shoshoni.

That cash contribution could amount to more than $2 million, Levenger said.

“It is a very large up-front cost to the municipality,” he said. “And there is not a good way to capture that money back, (as) tax generation would be very minor.”

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The hotel company wouldn’t make much money either, Levenger added, estimating that the business would not be profitable for its first eight years in operation.

A modular cabin complex, by contrast, could be profitable within two years, Levenger said.

He pointed to the Cowboy Village Resort in Jackson and the Kodiak Mountain Resort in Afton as examples.

Both modular cabin complexes are “currently booked out for the entire year,” Levenger said.

“They were booked out in January,” he said. “If I booked (the Kodiak) right now, we could get in by June of 2023. …

“They are making money hand over fist.”

Because the modular cabin business is more profitable, Levenger said Shoshoni would not have to contribute financially to the undertaking, which could even be incorporated into the town’s current RV park.

The council did not take action on Levenger’s presentation Tuesday, but they did express interest in speaking with the local RV park proprietors and learning more about other potential sites for modular cabins in town.

They also agreed a hotel is not currently feasible in Shoshoni.

For more information about the study call the Town of Shoshoni at 876-2515.

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