In four years, four luxury properties have opened their doors in Park City. The thousands of additional rooms available to guests and hundreds of condominium properties brought to the community is shaping a reputation for Park City as a growing high end destination, an asset to the local real estate community.
The St. Regis Deer Valley, the Montage Deer Valley, the Hyatt Escala and the Waldorf Astoria are all relatively new names to the area, each pulling in its own clientele with brand recognition and a sizable amount dedicated to marketing and advertising. Condominium owners often begin as hotel guests, and with the flood of new guests the properties have brought to town, realtors are seeing the impact.
"There is definitely significance, having these names in town," said Bill Coleman, a Prudential Real Estate Broker and long-time resident of Park City, "especially when you put it into a larger perspective, the fact that we are a ski town trying to become famous, and world famous at that."
"These properties changed things to lift our credibility bar," he added. " In the 42 years I have been here we just didn't have that added benefit. Now there is a whole new clientele we weren't getting before. It was a big deal, and it still is."
The Montage Deer Valley debuted in 2010, and in that time the property has sold 23 condominium units, each priced between $2.5 million up to $8.25 million, a total sales volume of $88 million in two years. Of the 23 sold units, eight buyers were from California, where the two other Montage properties are located, a correlation the Director of Sales for Montage Residences Deer Valley Ed Rehill attributes to the brand loyalty among guests.
"I do think we are impacting the local Park City real estate market in a positive way," Rehill said. "There is this great synergy provided by the brands here, and collectively we are bringing in a lot of new buyers to Park City who otherwise would not have come. They would have gone to Aspen or Vail or somewhere else."
The Hyatt Escala Lodges at Park City originally opened as a condominium project without the Hyatt name attached, but after the real estate bubble burst, the asset managers, SDI Realty Group, decided to partner with a hotel brand to help operate the property. Hyatt joined the project officially in 2010.
"When we compared Park City to other similar quality places in Colorado and in Canada, we noticed there were a lot fewer branded projects than there are in some of those other places," said SDI Realty Group Partner Cory Williams. "We thought it was a good idea. We saw other brands coming in. The market wanted branded residences versus the one-off boutiques like we had."
Before the partnership, most of the original sales predated the housing market crash, sales closed before construction on the property began. But once the doors were open, sales were slow.
"Sales occurred every so often, but just a few," Williams said, "and once we branded the project instead of doing a few sales per year, a handful, we were doing one per month Momentum started to build."
In the past 12 months, sales at the Hyatt Escala accounted for roughly 50 percent of all real estate sales in the Canyons Resort area, Williams added.
Now entering its fourth winter season, the St. Regis first opened its doors in 2009.
"This company does both national and international advertisings and marketing," said Ann MacQuoid, a Prudential Real Estate broker and listing agent to the St. Regis. "As a result in the first year of the St. Regis, 50 percent of people who stayed with us had never been to state of Utah.
"Does that mean there were always property sales? No. The concept of real estate is that you have to get people in town before they can even think about whether or not they want to buy property."
Of the 92 condominium residences, available at the St. Regis, all of which are whole ownership, 68 have been sold, totaling $188 million in sales.
"People don't buy property on their first visit," Coleman said. "That is very rare. Most likely, people take the family out, get a lay of the land and build a comfort level that's when they start to buy. So there is a lag between the hotel experience and buying a condo, and that lag may catch up soon."