Park City intends to acquire condo building for affordable housing | ParkRecord.com

Park City intends to acquire condo building for affordable housing

The $4.3 million deal with developer involves 11 units in Prospector

by Jay Hamburger
THE PARK RECORD

City Hall plans to acquire a condominium building under construction on Prospector Avenue for a little more than $4.3 million. The deal is part of the municipal governments aggressive housing program and involves 11 units.

Park City intends to acquire a condominium building that is under construction in Prospector, another aggressive move by the municipal government as it pursues an ambitious housing program amid continuing concerns about affordability in the city.

The Park City Council on Thursday is scheduled to cast a vote on an agreement to purchase the project, 1893 Prospector Ave., from a firm called Mr. Peabody, LLC. The price is $4,328,000. The project entails 11 condominiums. City Hall wants to acquire the building and then sell the units as restricted work force or otherwise affordable housing. The deal was negotiated in closed-door sessions, which is allowed under state law, and made public on Monday as part of the agenda for the Thursday meeting.

The project involves 10 two-bedroom units and one studio ranging in size from 500 square feet to 1,050 square feet. There are also storage lockers for each of the units. A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday indicates the construction is expected to be completed in October.

Anne Laurent, the community development director for Park City, said the municipal government intends to close on the deal once the project receives a certificate of occupancy, a City Hall-issued document that allows people to move into a new building. The developer will complete the construction without assistance from City Hall.

Laurent said Mr. Peabody, LLC was pursuing a market-rate project. The developer approached City Hall about an acquisition, she said, describing Mr. Peabody, LLC as having a "social-conscious desire."

"Certainly it was a shovel-ready project," Laurent said, adding, "It was a great opportunity to add to the affordable-housing inventory . . . It was the right price and the right timing."

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City Hall anticipates selling the units once the acquisition is finalized. The prices are not set but will be set below market rate. Laurent said City Hall will recoup much of the price of the acquisition through the sales. She said a taxpayer subsidy of between 20 percent and 30 percent is expected, however. The subsidy percentage would be similar to other municipal housing projects, she said.

Laurent said City Hall staffers in the summer will discuss prices with Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council. The prices will be based on a formula that relies heavily on area median incomes. Laurent said officials will likely begin accepting applications from potential buyers in the summer.

The project, known as the Central Park Condos, is located in the heavily developed Prospector district and steps from the Rail Trail. There was not heavy resistance as the project won the necessary City Hall permits for development. It offers a location close to numerous employers, easy access to bus routes and the shopping and dining of Prospector.

Ehlias Louis, a representative of Mr. Peabody, LLC, on Tuesday declined to discuss the specifics of the agreement, saying he planned to delay detailed comments until after the City Council meeting. He said the firm is "excited to work with the city."

Housing is a priority at City Hall as officials continue to be concerned that Park City's resort-driven real estate market has forced out many rank-and-file workers. Leaders say providing work force or otherwise affordable housing offers benefits like cutting commuter traffic and ensuring socioeconomic diversity. City Hall is developing a housing project along Park Avenue and intends to pursue projects on other land owned by the municipality.

The City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Marsac Building. A hearing is planned prior to the vote.

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