Vail Resorts, the owner of Park City Mountain Resort, on Thursday said it has reached an agreement to sell the PCMR parking lots to a Provo-based firm called PEG Companies, a deal that almost certainly signals major development at the resort that has been anticipated for longer than two decades is pending.
Vail Resorts did not identify a price for the 10 acres and PEG Companies also declined to provide a figure. Park City officials in the 1990s approved overall development plans for the PCMR base area. The 1990s approval, secured by former PCMR owner Powdr Corp., included what was built as Marriott’s Mountainside and the Legacy Lodge.
The approval, though, also contemplates significant development on the parking lots — the upper lot and the two lower ones — that are a part of the Vail Resorts-PEG Companies deal. Powdr Corp. did not pursue a development in earnest before selling PCMR to Vail Resorts in 2014 to settle a bitterly contested lawsuit centered on leased land underlying most of the skiing terrain but not the parking lots.
It has been anticipated that Vail Resorts would eventually make some sort of consequential move regarding the parking lots based on their presumed value with development rights already attached. It was not clear, though, what sort of timeline the firm planned to follow.
A Vail Resorts release on Thursday said a project is envisioned as including a hotel and spa, residences, restaurant space, retailers and services for skiers. It will also include what is described as “improved access to public parking” as well as transit and traffic infrastructure. Workforce housing will be built on the grounds, the release said.
“We are thrilled to begin engaging with our neighbors and the greater community to bring a truly dynamic gathering place to the base area,” Cameron Gunter, the founder and chief executive officer of PEG Companies, said in a prepared statement released by Vail Resorts. “We believe that the best outcome will ensue as our highly experienced development team not only puts their creative minds together but also solicits and incorporates valued input from the people of Park City into our plans, and that is exactly what we plan to do in coming weeks and months.”
Vail Resorts has shifted away from developing land itself, opting to reach agreements with outside firms to build projects. Doing so allows Vail Resorts itself to concentrate on the operations on the mountains.
The agreement announced on Thursday triggers what will be a closely watched process as PEG Companies engages the Park City Planning Commission with project blueprints. The 1990s-era approval outlined an overall development, but the firm must win an additional approval from the Planning Commission regarding the project details.
Robert Schmidt, the vice president of development at PEG Companies, said in an interview the firm intends to submit the application to City Hall by the early spring of 2020 with the possibility the application could be filed sooner than that. He said a groundbreaking is desired approximately one to two years after the application is filed.
The timeline depends on the length of the Planning Commission review, however. Schmidt said a closing on the acquisition of the parking lots will not occur until after a Planning Commission decision.
Schmidt described the lots as unique in North American skiing, saying the land at PCMR is among the continent’s last substantial base-area parcels available for development as significant as what is considered at PCMR. He noted the opportunities to link the parcels to the slopes and spoke about Park City’s proximity to the international airport in Salt Lake City.
“Any opportunity to be at the base of a resort of the caliber of Park City Mountain Resort — that’s unique,” he said.
PEG Companies has developed projects in the Intermountain region, and its portfolio includes the Hyatt Place along S.R. 224 in the Snyderville Basin. The firm has also developed projects in the mountain resort communities of Jackson, Wyoming, and Sun Valley, Idaho.
PEG Companies this week indicated details of the development proposal have not been finalized. The Planning Commission review of a proposal will likely center on issues like the height of the buildings, the architecture, traffic flow and parking, standard topics addressed by the panel when it considers resort development.
There will likely be extensive debate about parking as PEG Companies and Vail Resorts detail ideas to build garages to replace the surface spots that will be lost as the lots are developed. Schmidt said a development proposal will involve “sufficient parking” for the resort operations and the development.
Schmidt said PEG Companies over the last month engaged City Hall staffers in discussions about a project, but no members of the Planning Commission were involved. Meetings with people who live or have properties nearby as well as small community gatherings will be held.
“More complicated than suburban Salt Lake County,” he said about the development process in Park City. “It would certainly be fair to say that.”