Talisker on cusp of worker-housing deal
July 10, 2009
Talisker Corp. is expected to soon unveil a deal to acquire a significant bloc of work force housing, an agreement that would push the firm closer to fulfilling City Hall mandates for the housing tied to the Empire Pass development in Deer Valley.
Talisker executives and City Hall officials, who are aware of the negotiations, have declined to discuss the deal over the past several weeks. There has been increasing speculation recently that Talisker is close to finalizing a deal with a private-sector firm for the housing, and David Smith, the attorney who leads Talisker’s dealings with City Hall, appeared before Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council Thursday night. Neither Smith nor the elected officials spoke at length about a deal.
In an interview after the meeting, Smith declined to indicate where the housing is located and how many units could be part of a deal. It is unclear whether the housing is within the Park City limits. He said he is contractually obligated to withhold the information.
"Because of what we’re under, I can’t disclose details," Smith said.
The mayor and City Council this week received a broad report about work force housing issues in Empire Pass, which is under construction on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort. In the report, Phyllis Robinson, who directs City Hall’s housing programs, indicated Talisker is in talks to acquire an unoccupied condominium building. It is a new building, she said in the report, and the condominiums range from one-bedrooms to three-bedrooms.
The building likely encompasses approximately 21,600 square feet of living space, a figure derived from a City Hall equation used to formulate work force housing requirements.
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Robinson said in the report the location of the building has not been made public as Talisker finalizes the financing for the deal and then the closing on the housing. She said Talisker had attempted to advance far enough toward the deal to make public the location by Thursday. It is not clear when Talisker will release additional information.
Talisker has struggled as it tries to provide the work force housing required of Empire Pass, and it has held several rounds of tense negotiations with Park City officials in the last few years. Talisker has talked about putting some of the housing on land it has off Marsac Avenue, and it has been heavily involved in negotiations about a major work force housing project at Quinn’s Junction. It has also purchased small units in Prospector as a part of its work force housing portfolio.
City Hall has long required work force housing, sometimes called affordable housing, of developers of large projects like Empire Pass, with officials saying the housing is needed to ensure some of the employees have places to live close to the developments. The supporters at City Hall say doing so cuts traffic, among other benefits.
The mayor said in an interview he has been told of the location of the building under consideration by Talisker. He declined to identify the building but said Talisker approached City Hall with the concept approximately three weeks ago.
Williams said City Hall is not participating financially in the deal. He said officials are "frustrated" the location cannot be publicized.
"It’s brand new. It was built as a market-rate project. It would be phenomenal for affordable housing," the mayor said. "It puts affordable housing available immediately as opposed to most probably a couple years down the road."