Main Street hotel, historic but rickety, put on market | ParkRecord.com

Main Street hotel, historic but rickety, put on market

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The firm that purchased the historic Imperial Hotel from City Hall has put it up for sale, abandoning earlier plans to turn the building into a restaurant.

Commerce CRG, which is representing owner Germaine Partners, lists the Imperial for $3,299,000. A for-sale sign recently was placed on the Imperial, 221 Main St.

Germaine Partners or its affiliates have owned the Imperial for just less than two years. The Imperial was the primary property involved in a $3,050,000 deal in 2006 between City Hall and the current owner. Germaine wanted the Imperial as a restaurant to complement its residential holdings on Main Street, but the firm has since decided a restaurant in the building is not feasible.

"It wasn’t going to work with our business plan," says Andrea Kalmanovitz, a spokeswoman for Germaine.

She says the firm had difficulty devising restaurant blueprints for the building. She says it was especially complicated to design a kitchen for the restaurant.

Germaine then contemplated restoring the Imperial into a residential property linked to a building the firm plans to put up next door on the downhill side, but those designs were later abandoned.

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She says she expects a "great deal" of interest in the Imperial, but Kalmanovitz says Germaine could hold onto the building for an indefinite period if offers are low.

The firm continues to pursue three other projects on Main Street, including what is planned as an ambitious renovation of the historic Claimjumper building into an exclusive residential property with a restaurant and retailers.

The real estate broker listing the Imperial, Eric Nelson, says there has been "some good interest" during the first week the building was on the market, when he arranged about 15 showings for "all sorts of people, they’re mostly investors."

He touts the Imperial as being in a section of Park City where City Hall’s rules allow the building to be used in several fashions. Someone can open a restaurant, a store or another hotel, he says, or the upstairs can be turned into office space. Nelson says someone was interested in converting the building into a house. People from the Park City area and from outside of Utah have shown interest, he says.

The inside of the Imperial is gutted, and the buyer must renovate the building, he says. Nelson expects to sell the Imperial at close to the asking price, describing Main Street as having a strong market for commercial property.

"Main Street is a hot commodity," Nelson says.

Main Street is Park City’s best-known shopping, dining and entertainment district, and investors are putting significant money into the street, with Germaine being one of the most prominent. Others have built the Sky Lodge, and there have been long-running talk of a major renovation of the Main Street Mall.

City Hall bought the Imperial in 2003 as the primary property in an $875,000 deal with the federal Small Business Administration. At the time, Park City officials wanted the Imperial to use in a potential trade with the Air Force. City Hall hoped to swap the Imperial for coveted open space off S.R. 248 held by the Air Force, which wanted to open a military hotel in Park City. The two sides, though, did not reach an agreement, and City Hall sold the Imperial.

In 2007, Germaine indicated it wanted to open a 6,500-square-foot organic restaurant. The developers planned to call it 6 Spoons on Main, and the chef said midyear he wanted to open in late 2007. At the time, though, the chef, Michael DeMaria, said his team tried four designs before choosing one that could fit the restaurant equipment.

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