Park City sees opportunities in $6 million Bonanza Park deal
May 10, 2016
City Hall has reached an agreement to acquire approximately half of The Yard, a strategically placed parcel of land along Kearns Boulevard that was once envisioned as the site of a major private-sector development but now could advance the municipal government’s aggressive transportation and housing efforts.
The $6 million deal was not made public until the Monday afternoon release of an agenda for a Park City Council meeting scheduled on Thursday. The City Council is scheduled to cast a vote on Thursday on a real estate purchase contract. The deal is expected to close on Feb. 1. The extended period between the Thursday meeting and Feb. 1 will allow City Hall time conduct an environmental assessment and consider development ideas.
At 2.29 acres, it would be a significant acquisition for City Hall in a densely developed part of Park City. The location could eventually play a key role in transportation and parking infrastructure. The possibility of developing work force or some other category of restricted housing at the site is also notable. Details about the housing prospects for the location were not immediately available. City Hall also did not immediately outline a plan for transportation and parking projects.
"This is an opportunity and location that is crucial and key to the community," Mayor Jack Thomas said, acknowledging that the $6 million is a "significant price" but saying it represents a long-term value and commitment to the community.
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.
The seller is a firm controlled by the Bonanza Park partnership involving Mark J. Fischer and John Paul DeJoria. The Bonanza Park partnership holds ambitious plans to redevelop other parcels it holds in the district. The partnership wants to turn Bonanza Park into a hip district of residences, shops and restaurants in what would be perhaps the broadest redevelopments in Park City’s history.
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Fischer said the partnership has long desired the construction of a transit hub and garage in Bonanza Park, saying it is needed for the district to flourish. The transaction and City Hall’s ideas for the parcel will enable Bonanza Park to develop "in a meaningful way," he said.
"You need parking . . . Main Street wouldn’t work without China Bridge," Fischer also said, adding, "It just came down to the need for parking and transit."
Fischer said there will be benefits for businesses in Bonanza Park and the nearby Iron Horse district. He said the benefits will extend to Main Street businesses since the site is seen as a park-and-ride location. Drivers could leave their cars in Bonanza Park and then be shuttled to Main Street, reducing traffic in Old Town, he said. Fischer said the site could also act as overflow parking for Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort.
"It’s bigger than just Bonanza Park," he said.
The Bonanza Park partnership as recently as last winter was interested in a significant development at the site. The project was seen as an anchor to the future of the overall district. The partnership’s plans called for 36 residential units at the site 19 townhouses, 15 one-bedroom units and two flats spread through five buildings.
The Park City Planning Commission in January cast a preliminary vote unanimously in support of the project, which had been called The Yard Townhomes. The panel’s vote was a determination that the project complied with City Hall’s General Plan, an overarching document that guides growth. The partnership would have been required to win a more detailed approval from the panel before proceeding with the project.
The Bonanza Park partnership is expected to appear before the Planning Commission the day before the City Council meeting on Thursday. The Planning Commission discussion will center on the proposed redevelopment of a patchwork of other properties in Bonanza Park.
Fischer said it is "uncanny timing" and a "total coincidence" that the talks about the proposed redevelopment and the City Hall acquisition of The Yard are scheduled in the same week.
The deal involving The Yard was made public shortly after a City Hall-controlled entity called the Lower Park Avenue Redevelopment Agency acquired a vacant lot at 1364 Woodside Ave. for $1.1 million. Park City intends to develop housing at the site as part of an overall plan involving other City Hall-controlled properties along the lower Park Avenue corridor.