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Bank, drug store: Any resemblance is coincidental

September 5, 2018

Jackson’s newest bank will do business in a building that looks a lot like one of the town’s oldest structures, but it’s just an accident.

No, architect Brad Hoyt said, when he and his team at Hoyt/CTA designed the building at 545 W. Broadway, the goal wasn’t to make it look like Jackson Drug.

But while it’s not a copycat attempt, the remodeled bank building is reminiscent of the Town Square drugstore, which recently reopened as a restaurant and convenience store.

“It never crossed my mind,” Hoyt said of the resemblance — but, after a pause, he said, “I see the similarities.”

“It wasn’t intentional, not at all, but I can see where you might think that,” he said. “The stone is different, but the building is a cube, a stone cube.”

The First Republic building also has a front extension and considerably more window glass than the drugstore building, but both are basically square buildings done with rock.

In the case of Jackson Drug, built in 1937, the two-story building was actually made of stone blocks, quarried near Victor, Idaho, and stacked in a construction method familiar to the ancient Romans. The same stone was used for the neighboring Teton Theater, built in 1940, which reopened last year as Hand Fire Pizza.

The new home of First Republic, next to Wendy’s restaurant, is a wood-frame building built in 1983, and the stone is being used only to face the exterior.

Deciding to use stone for the exterior, Hoyt said, was an investment beyond what was required.

“For sure, it doubled the cost” of siding the structure, he said. “Stone is not a cost-effective option.”

The bank went for it, though, because it adds to an image that banks have valued since they first began handling people’s money: “I think the stone represents the permanence and security of a bank,” Hoyt said.

The stone came from northwest Montana, where it was quarried by Moose Mountain Stone. In language that certainly came from the marketing department at Moose Mountain, rather than the guys who actually broke the rock, the firm describes the particular stone used as “smoky gray, with chocolate tones.”

Before First Republic bought the property in September 2017 the building was home to El Tequila, a Mexican restaurant. Another restaurant, Mojo’s, occupied the space for several years before that. It was previously office and retail space.

The building, about 4,450 square feet, sits on a 0.38-acre lot, and is taking a considerable amount of work to get it in shape.

“It’s taken a little more time than we thought,” Hoyt said. Among other problems, “it was out of level.”

The work is being overseen by ACM, Aufderheide Construction Management. First Republic plans to move into the space before Christmas.

First Republic Bank was founded in 1985 and advertises itself as “a leading private bank and wealth management company” with 70 offices “primarily in urban, coastal markets.” Branches are scattered along the West Coast from San Diego to Portland, Oregon, and also in Boston, New York City, Greenwich, Connecticut, and Palm Beach, Florida.

Hoyt/CTA has been in business in Jackson since 2002. It’s associated with CTA, a Billings, Montana, firm in business since 1938. CTA has 14 offices around the region.

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