Kimball renovation still in limbo
November 20, 2013
Computer drawing shows the Bjarke Ingles Group’s design of the proposed Kimball Art Center renovation. The project has been put on hold indefinitely.
The Kimball Art Center Transformation is stuck.
The $10 million renovation was supposed to break ground last spring, but nothing has happened, and probably won’t for a while, said Matt Mullin, the Kimball Art Center’s board chairman.
"We’ve had no changes and there is nothing going on right now, unfortunately," Mullin said during an interview with The Park Record. "The town made it fairly clear that the design that won the competition wasn’t going to fly. So we’re basically in limbo."
In February, 2012, a seven-member jury appointed by the Kimball Art Center selected a KAC renovation designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which is based in Copenhagen and New York.
BIG’s design, which included an 80-foot tower made of railroad ties, was chosen during a six-month long Kimball Art Center transformation contest.
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The jury was comprised of Park City resident and Gaddis Investments founder Jim Gaddis, Park City Historic District Commission founder Tina Stahlke Lewis, Salt Lake City-based architect Prescott Muir, marketing expert Joanne Shiebler and former director of design for the National Endowment for the Arts Maurice Cox.
The non-voting jury members were Kimball Art Center executive director Robin Marrouche and Park City Municipal Community Affairs director Phyllis Robinson.
Although the jury liked BIG’s proposed design, many Park City residents didn’t.
Some nearby property owners feared the large structure would lead to a drop in property value while others felt the design was incongruent within the Historic District.
The uproar stopped the Kimball Art Center board of directors from submitting an application for the city to review, said Kayla Sintz, Park City planning manager.
"Since they didn’t turn in an application on that previous submittal, the design didn’t ever go to vote," Sintz said.
The Kimball did, however, recently turn in a pre-application for a Historic District Design Review, Sintz said.
"This is a free application that we suggest people submit when they are compiling ideas for a project," she explained.
The pre-application isn’t a full historic-design preview application that the planning department would need to approve in order for the renovation project to officially begin, Sintz explained.
"We haven’t received from them, yet," she said.
Meanwhile, the Kimball Art Center board is trying to figure out what to do, Mullin said.
One of those options may be to hold another design competition.
"That’s a possibility, but we’re trying to talk things through," Mullin said. "All the effort that went into the (first) competition was sort of a tough thing to go through. So we’re just regrouping."
Regardless of when the board finds a way to take the next step, Mullin said a renovation is still important for the Kimball Art Center to continue its mission of "engaging individuals of all ages in diverse and inspiring experiences through education, exhibitions and events."
The board is even exploring the idea of establishing another place to hold more classes.
"The site in town isn’t big enough to hold all the stuff we want to do," he said. "Either we do less stuff, or find a satellite location. But there is nothing determined, yet. We’re just considering a number of options."