A Park City Ritz-Carlton dangled as Treasure gatherings approach | ParkRecord.com

A Park City Ritz-Carlton dangled as Treasure gatherings approach

The Sweeney family has been in long-running discussions with The Ritz-Carlton to build a hotel at Treasure should the development proceed someday, a member of the family said this week, an acknowledgement that comes as City Hall and the family prepare to widen talks that could instead result in some sort of conservation deal for the land.

The Sweeneys have occasionally hinted that a name-brand hotelier was interested in Treasure, but the family has been hesitant to disclose which one. Mike Sweeney, one of three brothers leading the Treasure efforts, said in an interview the talks between his side and The Ritz-Carlton have been ongoing for up to five years. The hotelier’s interest level, though, is not clear.

It seems that a finalized agreement to put The Ritz-Carlton in Treasure could be years off and would depend on the outcome of the current City Hall-Sweeney family talks about a conservation deal.

An agreement could be struck with City Hall that protects from development all of the Treasure land or, perhaps, the part of the land where a Ritz-Carlton would be situated, ending the possibility of the hotel. But if a different sort of deal is agreed upon between the Sweeneys and City Hall, one that does not entirely set aside the land from development, a hotel could remain in play.

"My goal is to see a Ritz-Carlton hotel at the site," Sweeney said in an interview, revisiting long held assertions that a hotel at Treasure would boost business on Main Street.

He also said, though, his family is willing to consider a conservation deal for the entire acreage.

The prospects of a Ritz-Carlton opening in Park City will likely be of intense interest to tourism boosters, and a Ritz-Carlton would be seen as one of the most luxurious names in Park City’s competitive lodging industry.

Under the current blueprints, Treasure would be built on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort overlooking Old Town close to streets like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. The development would stretch through a series of buildings, with some of them envisioned as being among the largest ever built in Park City. The project is part of an overall approval for development on the land and other parcels dating from the 1980s.

The Sweeneys have spent years in talks with the Park City Planning Commission but have made little progress as concerns about the size of the buildings and the traffic Treasure is expected to draw being points of contention with the panel and people who live on nearby streets.

The Sweeneys and a City Hall task force led by Mayor Dana Williams recently began closed-door talks in an effort to reach a conservation deal.

The Ritz-Carlton brand has shown an interest in Park City on at least two occasions in the last decade, but the hotelier did not pursue a project in either case. A Ritz-Carlton had been unveiled at one time as the anchor of the Deer Crest development. The company later decided against the project, allowing The St. Regis into Deer Crest. A Ritz-Carlton had also been mentioned in connection with a disputed development on Silver Lake Drive.

It would complement other name-brand hoteliers, such as Waldorf Astoria and the Montage, that arrived in Park City since the era surrounding the 2002 Winter Olympics. A Ritz-Carlton representative did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

City Hall and representatives of the Sweeney family have scheduled two open houses in the next two weeks to gather opinions from Parkites about the conservation talks. Options will include moving forward with the development under the current application as well as five additional ideas that call for varying levels of conservation and development.

Any conservation deal will almost certainly cost City Hall tens of millions of dollars, if not more, and there is little money available in the municipal coffers for land purchases. If a deal is struck, leaders would be expected to put a ballot measure to voters to try to raise the money needed. Jon Weidenhamer, a City Hall staffer involved in the discussions, said a dollar figure will not be presented at the open houses. He hopes upward of 200 people attend over the course of the two open houses.

The open houses are scheduled:

On July 6 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the cafeteria at Park City High School

On July 13 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the same location

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