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Developer Rory Murphy explains how a column inside the Rio Grande building split and describes how it will be repaired as the property is restored as part of a redevelopment of the site. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

Paperwork has been submitted at City Hall for a project just off Main Street that will encompass a new building and a restored historic one, an important step that follows a year after talk of a redevelopment at the site.

Rory Murphy, the lead developer and a partner in the ownership, wants to build the project at 820 Park Ave., the site of a parking lot and the old building. The location is sometimes referred to as the Rio Grande building, a nod to the location of the building where luggage bags were stored for the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad when it operated at the site. The old building dates to 1897. The overall development site covers approximately one-third of an acre.

Murphy said he wants to put up a new building, three stories tall, with 10 residential units ranging from approximately 700 square feet to upward of 2,500 square feet. The street-level floor of the building would offer commercial space while the residential units would be put in the upper two floors. An underground garage would be built as well.

The rundown Rio Grande building would be restored and turned into a commercial property, Murphy said. He said, perhaps, a café could be opened in the Rio Grande building.

Paperwork filed with the Planning Department indicates the developers could reposition the Rio Grande building toward the northwest of the parcel, allowing them to reconstruct what was a passenger station section of the building and highlight the building as the "primary feature of the property.



The developer is seeking what is known as a conditional-use permit as well as an determination that the project meets City Hall's strict Old Town design guidelines. The Planning Commission must grant a conditional-use permit while staffers are able to make the determination about the design guidelines. The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to begin its discussions at a meeting on Aug. 14.

"The market is clearly coming back far more strongly than it has in recent years. So, we are very hopeful, marketwise, that the timing was right for this building," Murphy said.

He said he hopes for a groundbreaking in the spring of 2014.

Murphy said he wants to reach an agreement with the Sweeney family, which has property nearby, allowing the Rio Grande development access to the Town Lift Plaza via a walkway that would be built. Doing so would be expected to increase the value of the Rio Grande units by offering an easier route to Park City Mountain Resort's Town Lift.

The Rio Grande development has been under consideration for more than a year, and Murphy last July outlined much of what was eventually included in the June application to City Hall.

Murphy is a veteran Park City developer who led the efforts to build Silver Star on the edge of Thaynes Canyon and was a key figure at United Park City Mines as that firm secured the approvals for what became Empire Pass. The Silver Star project involved restoring three historic mining-era buildings and four smaller relics from Park City's mining days alongside the new condominiums.