CHEYENNE — Wyoming’s capital city will soon have more options for longer stays, with walls for Everhome Suites going vertical at the former historic Hitching Post Inn site.
Everhome Suites is one of two hotels being built at the site, along with a recently signed corporate headquarters for a company that’s not yet being revealed.
Robert Swagger, owner and developer for the site’s infrastructure, told Cowboy State Daily that he is still waiting on a key piece of information from the city of Cheyenne before he can proceed with construction of Paul Smith Way that will access the site at 1600 Lincolnway.
“They asked us, oh probably in June, to hold on, because at that time they are getting ready to design the ice and event center, or the new gymnastic center, that they’re building on the north side,” Swagger said. “The current stormwater plan we had approved didn’t function well for that site, so we weren’t able to go forward on that.”
Once that piece of the plan is in place, Swagger said the company will get everything it needs in line to start on that project as soon as the weather clears, hopefully in March or April.
The construction of Paul Smith Way won’t delay or affect Everhome Suites, the other hotel or the unnamed corporate office, Swagger added.
It also won’t affect the Hampton Inn hotel that’s going up on the lot adjacent to the future Paul Smith Way to the east of the Hitching Post site.
“Those folks are cruising right along,” Swagger said. “I think they’re working on their fifth and final floor from the rough framing standpoint this week. So, they may be getting dried in, you know, first of the year, so maybe January, February, I guess.”
Dried-in refers to having side walls up and sealed from the weather so that interior work can proceed without delays, in spite of winter weather.
Spring To See Even More Activity
The new corporate office expects to break ground in the spring, Swagger said, and will be working to finalize its architectural plans this winter.
“They’re extremely excited about the location, obviously, given the history of the Hitching Post,” Swagger said. “They’re currently working with their architects and engineering teams to get (their plans) all pulled together. So, there’ll be quite a bit of activity out there, you know, once we get past the winter months here.”
The office will be located on the corner of Paul Smith and Lincolnway, but Swagger can’t say too much more about it because of nondisclosure agreements.
Swagger said other than building out Paul Smith Way, most of the work he had planned is done — for now.
Any new projects the Cheyenne builder considers at the site will largely depend on how markets and interest rates look in 2024.
“You know, we originally were going to look at commercial with residential above,” he said. “A lot of that stuff, you know, penciled out at 4% interest rate, but it doesn’t at 8%. So, there’s just a little bit of a hold there to figure out what the market is going to do.”
Many analysts have suggested that interest rates will start falling in 2024, and Swagger has his fingers crossed. If that pans out, Swagger said that, “We can kind of go back to the drawing board and see what kind of product we want to put out there.”
Delays haven’t dampened any enthusiasm for the project, he added.
“We’re still extremely excited about the project,” he said. “Obviously, there’s been a little bit of delays here with just getting some of the stuff in, but yeah, I think we’ll see a lot of development in and around there come the spring, with stuff right on site, and then also stuff that’s adjacent to the sites.”
What is Everhome
Everhome Suites is a new, extended-stay brand started in 2022 that falls under the Choice brand.
The Cheyenne Everhome location is near the F.E. Warren Air Force Base and is scheduled to open by the end of 2024. It will offer 114 rooms in a four-story hotel developed by HighSide Companies, according to information about the project online at Choice’s website.
Although it is technically a hotel, the rooms are designed to be similar to what one might find in a high-rise apartment. There will be fully equipped kitchens, spa-style bathrooms with large closets, as well as options to have in-room washers and dryers, along with one feature most apartments don’t offer — weekly housekeeping.
The site also will have a 24/7 fitness center and laundry facilities, as well as a self-serve, tech-enabled Homebase Market with food, beverages and selected groceries.
Everhome’s Cheyenne location is just one of several extended stays that the Choice brand is building out now.
In addition to Wyoming, Everhome lists 60 extended-stay hotels going up in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, California, Kentucky, Florida and Texas.
These new properties will bring Choice’s properties to more than 250 across its three brands, which include MainStay Suites, Suburban Studios and WoodSpring Suites.
It is the first new construction of midscale extended stays in a decade or so, according to investor information Choice has shared online.
The trend of building more extended stays is being driven by continued growth in remote work, Choice has told its investors, as well as an ongoing fusion between business and leisure travel, relocations and onshoring of various manufacturing industries in the wake of the CHIPS Act.
The latter provided $280 billion in funding to create regional technology hubs and boost domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors in the U.S.
Semiconductors were invented in the U.S., but America has only been producing 10% of them worldwide, and none of them are what would be considered advanced chips.
The sector has been identified as a key industry for national security, which helped the 2022 bill achieve bipartisan support in Congress.
So far, companies across 42 states in America have applied for CHIPS funding, and 50 community colleges have either started new or expanded existing semiconductor workforce programs.
About That Hostile Takeover
Choice made headlines recently after engaging in a hostile takeover bid for its rival, Wyndham Hotels.
Choice had offered to buy Wyndham stock for $8 billion, but was rejected. It then upped the ante by taking the offer directly to shareholders, but they decided the offer did not benefit shareholders and rejected it.
Choice doubled down on its hostile takeover attempt, issuing a press release that said Wyndham’s board has not been forthcoming and is not really considering the best interests of shareholders.
“The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will come to its own independent assessment of the proposed transactions competitive merits, based on the specific facts, like it does on every M&A transaction,” Choice said in a media release. “Attempting to use the FTC to prevent Wyndham shareholders from even accessing the option of a merger with Choice robs them of meaningful upside from the combination, or at a minimum, the substantial break-fee Choice has offered, in the unlikely event the transaction were not to receive the requisite regulatory clearance.”
The Hitching Post was once so popular with legislators back in its heyday, it became known as the second capitol of Wyoming. While legislators did not vote at this second capitol, many a vote was captured there amid drinks and camaraderie.
Lobbyists, among them Jonathan Downing, who was then employed by Wyoming Contractors Association, even set up shop at the location.
“Our offices were just off the lobby, and a great location to ‘conveniently’ bump into legislators as they checked into the hotel,” he has told Cowboy State Daily.
Downing believes the Hitching Post helped knit legislators together, despite their many differences, which made the atmosphere at the capitol less contentious.
“It is that atmosphere which I hope we can get back to as a Wyoming community,” he said. “That Hitching Post atmosphere instilled the Wyoming civility for which we are known, and a civility I trust we will see in the future.”
Along with many Wyoming political dignitaries, the Hitching Post also hosted movie stars like Christopher Walken and Jeff Bridges, when they were on their way to film “Heaven’s Gate,” based on the infamous Johnson County War. George Burns, Gracie Allen, and former Mr. Universe and Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno were among other famous guests.
The Hitching Post also hosted five who either were or became U.S. presidents. These guests included Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.
The establishment was originally called the Lincoln Court and started out with just 25 rooms in 1927. As it grew in popularity, cars came along, and its owner Paul Smith renamed it the Hitching Post Inn.
Renée Jean can be reached at Renee@CowboyStateDaily.com.