A chunk of vacant land north of Powell has been formally incorporated into the city by the Powell City Council, helping set the stage for future development.
The roughly 31-acre property is owned by Cason Enterprises, LLC and located north of Seventh Street, with Wyo. Highway 295 on the west side and Day Street to the east. Dr. Jacob Merrell, a local radiologist and principal of Cason Enterprises, intends to turn the newly annexed property into a subdivision.
“Through my family growing up, we have a long history of building, renovating and developing single-family or multi-family real estate. It’s kind of a passion of mine,” Merrell said. “That piece of land in particular seemed like a natural addition to the city — it’s already surrounded by the city on three sides. That’s where my initial interest in that piece of land came from.”
The project is still early in the planning stages, and Merrell said its direction will depend on real estate market conditions.
“The market is always changing with the economy of Powell,” Merrell said. “We’re taking a look at the best use of the land
He sees a possibility for multi-family properties, “but it will probably be single-family homes.”
Merrell will continue to work with the city on a subdivision agreement; he may also sell off a few small parcels of the land, as potential buyers have expressed interest.
“There has been some interest in people buying some of those because of the infrastructure costs; those are expensive,” he explained. “It’s kind of just deciding where to start.”
Merrell said he’d like to see mid-level homes with generous lot sizes, giving room for residents to tailor the property to their needs.
“Obviously, there has to be restrictive covenants in place,” Merrell said. “But I don’t want them to be so restrictive that people can’t have certain things they desire — whether it’s a shop on their land or anything like that.”
He’d also like to cater to the seniors in the community.
“A lot of the housing around here isn’t tailored to some of the seniors’ needs,” Merrell said. “So that’s kind of a big interest of mine, making houses that are more helpful to a senior, where it’s low-maintenance, no steps, bathrooms designed in such a way that it’s not a fall risk.”
That said, Merrell falls short of describing it as a retirement community.
“More like senior independent living,” he said. “Just trying to give them a better place to live so that they can be independent as long as possible before they have to transition to something like assisted living. I think there’s a pretty big need for that.”
Born and raised in Cheyenne, Merrell graduated from medical school at the University of Washington and did his residency at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Merrell earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he competed on the basketball team. He’s been working in Powell and Lovell for almost three years.
“We really like it here in Powell,” Merrell said. “The outdoor activities are incredible, and it’s just a great place to live.”
As he mulls over his options moving forward with the project, Merrell said any decisions will be made with the community’s best interests in mind.
“Whatever project I end up doing out there, I would like the community to know that I’m going to use local people for the infrastructure, local contractors and sub-contractors to actually do the work,” he said. “I want to keep it local; everybody wins when we do that.”