Park City could tap Brew Pub lot for development
May 15, 2015
Greg Schirf has a clear view of the City Hall-owned Brew Pub parking lot toward the southern end of Main Street from his Wasatch Brew Pub, the restaurant and brewery that the lot is named after.
He also has a clear view of what he desires as the municipal government considers options to develop the lot. There would be underground parking spaces and a plaza on the Main Street level that could accommodate upward of a few hundred people for music performances and events. There could be an ice-skating rink in the winter. And there would be no net loss of parking spaces regardless of a development.
"Something that would be attractive to our visitors and locals," Schirf said.
City Hall is considering proceeding with a development on the Brew Pub lot as part of the municipal government’s broad investment in the Main Street district. Park City leaders want to ensure Main Street remains competitive with outlying shopping, dining and entertainment districts and are putting money into sidewalk improvements, a plaza on Swede Alley and other improvements.
A project in the Brew Pub lot, though, would be among the most ambitious. City Hall in late April formally started the search for an architectural firm interested in planning and designing a project at the location. The firms must outline their qualifications, including information about economic development work, in submittals due by Tuesday.
According to the City Hall posting, officials want the firms to provide two options for a parking garage on the Brew Pub lot, one with one level and the other with two levels. There are three options for a plaza at the location — one with "limited public amenities" like restrooms and another with restrooms and infrastructure, perhaps a stage and storage space for special events. The third option, the most intensive, would involve a plaza and other development, perhaps a restaurant, housing for the work force or a museum. A project could include space to mark Park City’s Olympic legacy, the posting says.
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"The lot sits at the top of Main Street, anchoring the southern entrance to the City’s heart," it says. "It is also one of the last large undeveloped plots in the historic district. For these reasons, the site has been identified as a key element for redevelopment."
Jonathan Weidenhamer, the economic development manager at City Hall, said officials want a project to create a better spot to be used during special events. Main Street has long been critical to Park City’s special events, playing an important role throughout the year. The Brew Pub lot is situated below the grade of Main Street, a hindrance as events are planned.
"It is an absolute clear priority to focus on an event space," he said, describing a scenario that involves a new location for events at the same level of Main Street with a parking garage underneath.
A parking garage would limit the amount of spots lost as a result of a project in the Brew Pub lot, an important goal as designs are considered.
Weidenhamer said a space for special events could become "an anchor at the top of the street." Businesses toward the southern end of Main Street have said for years that shoppers and diners only sometimes make their way up the street.
He said a space at the location could be used by a variety of special events. The Park City Kimball Arts Festival could expand there, the Park Silly Sunday Market could add a location or car shows could park themselves there, Weidenhamer said as he described the possibilities.
City Hall wants to build a project over a two-year timeline starting as early as the spring on 2016. The Park City Council could award a contract to an architectural firm in July. A contract for the construction, which would involve a far larger dollar figure, would be awarded later.
Weidenhamer anticipates a project will range in price from between $6 million and $7 million, depending on the options selected by the elected officials. The work would be funded by a voter-authorized portion of sales taxes collected by City Hall that is set aside for improvements along Main Street, conservation purchases and certain infrastructure upgrades.
Main Street leaders support the project. The Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents businesses along Main Street or just off the street, sees the development of the Brew Pub lot as a "centerpiece project," Alison Butz, the executive director, said, explaining it is a goal to draw crowds to the top of Main Street.
Butz said the Historic Park City Alliance wants a project to incorporate parking spots, as City Hall outlines in the posting. The group acknowledged that City Hall could explore the possibility of work force housing at the site, but Butz said incorporating housing is not critical given any units would be located at the plaza. The Historic Park City Alliance wants the work to commence in the spring of 2016.
"The sky’s the limit, up to our budget," Butz said.