It has been nearly a decade since the buzz started about what has been seen as Park City's up-and-coming district.
Developers at one time attached a trendy-sounding moniker to the district, calling it NoMa, short for North of Main. It was re-branded as Bonanza Park, an acknowledgement of two of the important streets in the district -- Bonanza Drive and Park Avenue.
There was only limited progress, though, before the onset of the recession and just a little bit more since the deepest days of the downturn. But the key developer in Bonanza Park, Mark J. Fischer, appears to be readying to pursue the ambitious remake of the district.
Fischer will press ahead with seemingly a better idea of City Hall's desires for Bonanza Park.
The section focused on Bonanza Park is one of the highlights of the redone General Plan since the district, more so than other places in Park City, appears poised for significant redevelopment. There are large parcels available in Bonanza Park, it lacks historic buildings that complicate redevelopments in Old Town and many of the buildings now standing in Bonanza Park seemingly could be razed without much objection to make room for new projects.
"It's better to build in a redevelopment area . . . than it is to put it out in our natural setting and sprawl outward," said Thomas Eddington, the planning director at City Hall and one of the architects of the redone General Plan.
Under City Hall's current zoning rules, according to Eddington, a little more than 5 million square feet of additional development could be put into Bonanza Park between the various landowners. The square footage would depend on the detailed plans of individual projects.
"We don't have a lot of places to put density. Bonanza Park is one," he said.
Eddington envisions Bonanza Park offering buildings with commercial square footage on the street level and residences on the upper floors. Some buildings would have office space upstairs as well, he said. Thee will be housing options for people of various economic means, he said. The millennial generation could be interested in residing in Bonanza Park, drawn to the mix of residential and commercial properties, Eddington predicted.
"The opportunity of Bonanza Park is we can have incremental growth .
The planning director, pointing to the General Plan, sees the road network in Bonanza Park being turned into a grid system over time as projects are pursued. Blocks that are in the range of 275 feet long to 325 feet long would encourage people to walk or bicycle more frequently, he said.
Transit options, made easier with a road grid, are also important to Bonanza Park's future, he said. Someday there could be bus connections, streetcars or trolleys serving the district, Eddington said, noting a transit center could be built there, putting Bonanza Park along a route from Main Street to Kimball Junction. The concentrated development projected in Bonanza Park will be crucial to the success of the transit plans, Eddington said.
The City Hall plan
Growth in Bonanza Park will be based on the General Plan section addressing the district. The General Plan addresses broad topics, but City Hall's more detailed development rules reflect its ideals. If new rules are someday adopted in Bonanza Park, a likely scenario, they would be heavily influenced by the General Plan.
The section covers topics like housing affordability, the aesthetics and employment.
"One of the greatest threats to the relatively affordable Bonanza Park neighborhood is gentrification. As the City adopts new policies to create a diverse neighborhood for locals, it is imperative that the locals be included in the planning," the document says.
It urges that the district remain viable for varying income levels and says "any displacement of existing affordable units should be required to incorporate those units within the new development area."
Other points in the General Plan section include:
"The evolution of architectural design created over time will lead to an authentic, diverse district," the General Plan says.
"Connectivity is lacking throughout the district. The existing pattern of roads is disconnected, yet there is a great opportunity to fix this disconnection as part of an overall redevelopment plan for the area," it says.
Topics also include Bonanza Park becoming "a model for sustainable redevelopment," making the district into a public transit hub and Bonanza Park's importance as an entry to Park City.
A statistical breakdown of the district published in the General Plan section counts 662 people as living there and 137 businesses. There are 337 residential units in the district, or 3.5 percent of Park City's total residences, according to the breakdown. The numbers show there being 10 approved but not yet built units in the district, but that number will increase significantly once projects are approved.
The Fischer plan
More than anyone else, it was Fischer who spurred City Hall to consider ideals for Bonanza Park.
Prior to the onset of the recession, he amassed a patchwork of properties along Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard. He and a former business partner spoke of grand ideas for Bonanza Park, at the time known as North of Main.
The recession struck and the redevelopment did not advance, giving City Hall the time to craft the Bonanza Park section of the General Plan in an effort to shape the anticipated growth in the district. The partnership planning North of Main ended. Fischer later entered into a 50-50 partnership in the Bonanza Park holdings with John Paul DeJoria, a Texas billionaire who made his fortune in hair products. The Fischer-DeJoria partnership owns approximately 11 acres in Bonanza Park, including high-profile parcels such as The Yard.
Fischer said there is more of an "upscale vision" for Bonanza Park now than there was prior to the writing of the General Plan section, noting that City Hall intends to introduce a detailed zoning code in the district as well. He said Bonanza Park could become an employment hub, and, like Eddington, he uses the term "organic growth."
"We've been waiting for this moment in time." Fischer said.
He is readying to move ahead with Bonanza Park in the months after a widely publicized dispute involving a Rocky Mountain Power substation that occupies a high-profile location in Bonanza Park. Fischer wanted the substation site moved through a land swap that would have involved himself and the power company. Doing so, he said at the time, would have allowed Bonanza Park to be a more ambitious project.
A substation would have been built on land across Bonanza Drive, but people who lived or had properties close to the proposed new site balked. The idea was later scrapped, leaving Fischer to design a smaller-in-scale Bonanza Park around the existing substation.
Fischer said he hopes to file what would be the first application for significant redevelopment in Bonanza Park by the middle of June. It will involve land off the southwest corner of the intersection of Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard. Fischer intends to demolish buildings there and then develop the properties using the ideals of the Bonanza Park section of the General Plan, including offering a mix of residences and commercial spaces. The teardowns will occur over an extended period of time starting, perhaps, as soon as three years, he said, explaining that the pace of redevelopment will depend on market demand.
"Bonanza Park is no longer viewed as an industrial district," Fischer said, adding, "It's ripe for redevelopment."