A developer in Old Town recently won the permit needed to proceed with a project at a historic railroad site, a development that will keep up the momentum along Main Street as Park City continues to enjoy a strong rebound from the worst days of the recession.
The project will be built at 820 Park Ave., steps from Main Street. It is one of the few largely vacant parcels of land on or just off Main Street. The developer, known as 820 Park Ave., LLC, is calling the project Rio Grande, a bow to the site's railroad history. A historic building on the parcel once served as a passenger depot's baggage station when a railroad line extended into what is now known as Old Town.
The Park City Planning Commission at a recent meeting approved the permit. The project entails 10 condominiums and five commercial spaces. Nearly all of the development will be within one new building. The historic building on the site now will be moved 10 feet to the west and 30 feet to the north, to a location where the developer anticipates it will occupy more prominent space. Rory Murphy, the developer, has said the historic building will be restored and turned into a commercial property. An underground garage will be built at the site.
The approval came after the developer faced opposition from people with places in a condominium building next door, called the Lift Lodge. There were concerns about shadows, noise and the construction timeline.
During a Planning Commission hearing before the vote, the panel received input about the possibility of putting a convenience store in the project. Planning Commissioners, meanwhile, touched on topics like the height of project. Murphy told the Planning Commission the project team shifted architectural features in an effort to minimize the impacts on the nearby buildings.
City Hall staffers continue to review the project against the municipal government strict Old Town design guidelines.
In an interview prior to the vote, Murphy said he hopes to break ground on the project in the spring. He said the construction is expected to last 15 or 16 months, putting a projected move-in date in the fall of 2015. A marketing sign has been posted at the site. The developer touts the project's location just off Main Street and steps from the Town Lift as being desirable.
Murphy said in the interview beforehand that the developers worked through the concerns of the Lift Lodge. He said at the time that there was "angst and a sense of loss" since a largely vacant lot is set for development.
The project will continue an extraordinary influx of private sector investment on or just off Main Street since Park City exited the depths of the recession. There is a string of projects along Main Street, including the major renovations of the building once known as the Main Street Mall and the Silver Queen Hotel.
"We are obviously very pleased that the Planning Commission accepted the project. We're looking forward to continuing the process and moving things along," Murphy said.