A Texas billionaire who made his fortune in hair products is a partner in the Bonanza Park development, a role that has not been widely publicized but could be crucial as the idea to remake the district presses forward.
John Paul DeJoria, the cofounder and CEO of the Paul Mitchell company, is an equal partner with Mark J. Fischer in the Bonanza Park properties, Fischer said in an interview. DeJoria has been involved since buying a 50 percent stake in 2009, Fischer said.
Fischer, who lives in Park Meadows, has been the figure most associated with Bonanza Park. He has represented the patchwork of properties publicly and has appeared on behalf of the developers at City Hall meetings.
Some of the properties that are under the ownership of the DeJoria-Fischer partnership include The Yard, the Rail Central building, the Bonanza Drive land where a Maverick gas station is situated and the property on Bonanza Drive where the Park City Clinic sits. The partnership was not announced publicly when DeJoria purchased his stake in the properties.
"I've found Mark to be one of the most honorable people around, very honest, and cares about the city," DeJoria said in a recorded message provided by Fischer. "I care about it, too, because like him, I live here, maybe not full time, part time."
DeJoria said he has been buying and developing properties in Park City for more than 20 years. He has kept some of the properties, he said.
DeJoria, bearded and with a ponytail, is recognizable from Paul Mitchell's advertising campaigns. Fischer said DeJoria was involved during the development of the Caledonian and other properties close to the Town Lift. Fischer said DeJoria is the majority owner of High Star Ranch, an equestrian development in Kamas. Fischer manages High Star Ranch for DeJoria.
Forbes magazine in 2012 ranked DeJoria tied at 92 on its list of America's richest people, calculating his net worth in September to be $4 billion.
"His financial strength has enabled us to, basically, weather this intense recession and not be overleveraged with any financial institution," Fischer said.
He added that there is "a lot of stability and financial strength behind Bonanza Park."
Fischer sees the redevelopment of Bonanza Park as an ambitious makeover of an area of Park City that was largely left alone during a period of rapid construction in the years between the 2002 Winter Olympics and the onset of the recession.
Bonanza Park, as it is envisioned, would involve a mix of residential and commercial properties, perhaps with living quarters built on the upper levels and businesses occupying the street-level space. There has been talk about reworking the street grid in the district as well.
It has made only modest progress, though, as City Hall considers overarching ideas for the Bonanza Park district. The location of a power substation in a critical spot in the district has also complicated matters. There are ongoing negotiations about the possibility of building a replacement elsewhere and freeing up the substation land to be incorporated into Bonanza Park.
DeJoria and Fischer recently met in Park City with a small group of City Hall officials to discuss Bonanza Park. Two Park City Councilors -- Andy Beerman and Cindy Matsumoto -- were among the representatives from the municipal government.
Beerman said the meeting was held at Deer Valley Resort and lasted for approximately one hour. Beerman said DeJoria introduced himself and spoke about his earlier involvement in Park City. He did not talk about the details of Bonanza Park but told the city officials he wanted a quality project developed at the site, Beerman said.
"I think it was reassuring. It's encouraging," Beerman said. "It's nice to know he has stable financial backing."