Big lodge is ‘not that bad’
Across the street from Jana Potter’s Silver Queen Hotel construction crews for months have been putting up the Sky Lodge, one of the largest buildings in Park City’s history.
But Potter, who will compete with the Sky Lodge, is impressed with the property, saying it works on Main Street even as others smirk at the way it looks.
"At the end of the day, where you see where the heights are, it’s not that bad," Potter says, adding, "I think it’s going to fit nicely."
In recent weeks, especially after a large crane was dismantled at the site, Parkites and visitors have gotten their first opportunities to see how the Sky Lodge fits onto the Main Street streetscape. The design details of the building are also appearing as the developers approach what is planned as a Dec. 26 opening, in the midst of one of the busiest tourism stretches of the year, with huge crowds arriving for New Year’s and, a few weeks later, the Sundance Film Festival.
The Sky Lodge, soaring above the busy Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection, is among the most ambitious developments in Old Town since the ski industry took hold of Park City in the 1960s. It holds just 22 units, fewer than other ritzy projects in the area, but its high-profile location makes it of greater interest to Parkites, Main Street leaders, history buffs and City Hall.
Bill Shoaf, one of the partners in the Sky Lodge development team, lauds the project and its position on Main Street, Park City’s best-known shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
"I think it fits fine. I’m not surprised," Shoaf says, describing that he receives accolades for the building’s looks once or twice each day.
Shoaf says the Sky Lodge designers sketched a building with heights that cascade down in several sections. At its tallest, the Sky Lodge hits 62 feet, 6 inches above Heber Avenue, and it is recessed slightly from street level. Four stories are visible from Heber Avenue, and five stories are seen from the building’s back.
He says three nearby buildings — Zoom restaurant, the Easy Street Brassiere and what is known as the historic assayor structure — step nicely toward the Sky Lodge.
"It’s not a wall up against the street like other areas," Shoaf says, adding that the building’s design is not a "homogeneous square box."
Shoaf appreciates the Sky Lodge’s materials, saying the glass and old timbers used in the building make it more appealing.
City Hall and history buffs have for years tried to protect Main Street and its spot on the National Register of Historic Places. A year ago, a report indicated new development threatened Main Street’s position on the National Register, and the report mentioned the Sky Lodge as being among the buildings that were concerning.
Hal Compton, the research historian for the Park City Historical Society, says he prefers the building to the largely abandoned yard that was there before, but he says the Sky Lodge is big for its location.
"It turned out better than I expected. Let’s put it that way," Compton says, adding, "I didn’t expect it to be as big as it turned out. We’re not used to seeing those huge buildings."
Shoaf reports 70 percent of the Sky Lodge is sold, and it is being marketed on what is known as a fractional-share basis. Under the arrangement, the units were sold in one-eighth shares. The units range in size from 1,265 square feet to 2,892 square feet.
Potter, with the nearby Silver Queen, predicts the Sky Lodge will be a boom for Main Street, where lodges are generally much smaller than Shoaf’s building.
With its Main Street location, visitors will like the Sky Lodge, and she says it complements Main Street’s historic feel. She says the developers put up the Sky Lodge "with integrity." She is especially pleased the construction crews took down the crane.
"I think the crane was more imposing," Potter says.
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