Park City finalizes acquisition of prime Bonanza Park land
City Hall pays nearly $6 million for parcel, housing project likely
May 5, 2017
City Hall on Monday finalized the acquisition of approximately one-half of The Yard, a strategically placed parcel of land along Kearns Boulevard that leaders wanted to secure for public uses as long-range plans are crafted for the redevelopment of the Bonanza Park district.
The municipal government paid just less than $6 million for 1.86 acres in the southern part of The Yard. The figure dropped from the 2.29 acres City Hall intended to acquire as the land was put through a platting process that required additional rights of way be dedicated. The final price tag reflects the change in acreage.
The seller was the Bonanza Park partnership consisting of Mark J. Fischer and John Paul DeJoria. The sides reached the deal in the spring of 2016, but the closing was delayed as City Hall awaited the completion of the platting process. It did not appear there was ever a chance the acquisition would be nixed as a result of the platting.
Park City officials just after the deal closed installed concrete barriers meant to block drivers from parking on the land. Officials also intend to post no-parking signs.
Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council pursued the acquisition to put City Hall in a position to influence the future of one of the crucial remaining undeveloped parcels in the city. The land is behind the Boneyard Saloon & Kitchen and borders Homestake Road, a Rocky Mountain Power substation, the Recycling Center and a storage-unit business.
Officials over the past year broached ideas like developing the land with work force or otherwise restricted housing, transportation infrastructure and parking. Details have not been finalized. Preliminary City Council discussions appeared to lean toward housing. The elected officials are pursuing an aggressive housing program involving projects in places like the lower Park Avenue corridor.
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"It's an arrow in the quiver. It's making progress," Jonathan Weidenhamer, the economic development director for City Hall, said, adding, "It's a big significant piece in their portfolio."
Weidenhamer said City Hall in the summer intends to seek firms interested in crafting conceptual designs and researching the feasibility of the various potential uses. A project could break ground as early as 2019, he said. Weidenhamer said officials must consider options for the use of the land in the interim, including the possibility of making the land available for public parking.
The Bonanza Park partnership retained an adjacent parcel fronting Kearns Boulevard. The partnership controls a patchwork of properties along Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive and plans a major redevelopment of the district with residences, shopping, dining and office space.
The portion of The Yard acquired by City Hall was earlier seen as the anchor to the plans. The Bonanza Park partnership at one point proposed 36 residential units at the site – 19 townhouses, 15 one-bedroom units and two flats spread through five buildings. The Park City Planning Commission cast a preliminary vote in favor of the project, but the talks about the development were set aside as the deal was reached to sell the land to City Hall. The Bonanza Park side, though, continues to pursue development on other parcels in the vicinity of The Yard.
The Bonanza Park partnership intends to put the proceeds of the sale toward the redevelopment of the other parcels, Fischer said. He noted the attractiveness of the portion of The Yard acquired by City Hall. He said the partnership prefers the municipally owned land be developed with housing and parking. That would add vitality to the district, he said.
"Centrally located. Flat land. It should work out well for them," Fischer said.