Real estate market not suffering from PCMR dispute | ParkRecord.com

Real estate market not suffering from PCMR dispute

Bubba Brown

The real estate market has yet to show any signs of ill effects as a result of the dispute between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC. But executives of local real estate companies say that could change if an agreement between the two parties to keep the resort open this winter isn’t reached.

Steve Roney, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties, which operates several Park City offices, said on Wednesday that he remains optimistic PCMR and Talisker will reach an agreement soon. But if they don’t, and the mountainside remains empty this ski season, Roney anticipates some sort of a negative impact on the real estate market.

"From a business standpoint, nobody thinks the potential closing is going to be a good deal," Roney said. "But from our vantage point, we’ve not seen yet any real change in real estate activity. And it’s not as though (the situation) hasn’t been understood, front-page for a lot of people. But so far there has been no impact."

Roney said the fact there hasn’t yet been a negative impact on the real estate market is a possible byproduct of a community that hasn’t lost hope that PCMR and Talisker can strike a deal.

"We haven’t had much in terms of negative comments or concerns," Roney said. "Most people are still hopeful that there will be some form of an agreement."

Thomas Wright, President of Summit Sotheby’s Realty, echoed Roney’s statement that the market had not yet been damaged by the high-profile lawsuit, which has drawn national media attention.

"Business has been great for the real estate market, and a lot of other retailers, and we all want to keep it that way," he said on Thursday.

But Wright added that the risk of the dispute affecting real estate in the area increases as the disagreement drags on.

"(PCMR not opening) would have some obvious consequences to market values," Wright said. "That would be disappointing and devastating to a lot of people who, in this community, deserve a lot better than that. So we’re really hoping they come to an agreement."

PCMR and Talisker, both of whom have been quiet over the past week about whether an agreement is close or has been reached, were scheduled to appear in court Friday. Third District Court Judge Ryan Harris was set to rule on the size of the bond PCMR would have to post to operate the slopes this winter while it appeals an earlier court ruling that determined its lease on the land had expired. At the time of the interviews with Roney and Wright, no information regarding the court hearing was available.

Both Wright and Roney contend that it would be hard to predict what exactly would happen to the market if PCMR does not open for business this season. But Roney, citing projections that have sales through the holiday season in line with last year, said that that whatever effect there would be would far from cripple the market.

"Obviously, there will be an impact — we just don’t know the extent of what that impact will be," Roney said. "But I can’t imagine anything close to the five-year recession we just pulled out of. The town will get through it."

One factor that Roney said provides a buffer zone between the two sides potentially failing to reach an agreement and a tangible impact on the market is that real estate buyers set their sights on the long term rather than the short term. And to Roney, a scenario where the PCMR slopes remain empty for long seems implausible, even if the resort isn’t operated this ski season.

"It just seems like something that (would be) worked out over time," he said.

And in the event PCMR doesn’t open this winter, Roney said, Park City has other ways to draw real estate investors, further mitigating a potential impact on the market.

"I don’t want to underplay this — it’s more than a blip on the screen if there’s not a deal done — but there are a lot of other things going on in town to not drive visitors away," Roney said. "So it’s not as if we don’t have two other world-class ski resorts, and there are plenty of things that are really good.

"This town has so much to offer that I just don’t see it having a long-term effect at all on our market. This is a great place to live full-time and it’s a great place to own a second home. And I think that’s going to remain the case no matter what the outcome."

Despite Roney’s optimistic outlook, which would persist even if the two sides can’t work out an agreement for this winter, Wright said the uncertainty makes forming a contingency plan for that scenario difficult.

"I don’t think there can be much of a strategy, because a good portion of our ski capacity is on that mountain," Wright said, while adding that he is optimistic that a deal will be reached. "I think it’s been pretty well documented by business organizations that we can’t absorb that demand with the existing supply of the other two resorts."

Late-breaking information about the PCMR/Talisker lawsuit and Friday’s court date can be found at parkrecord.com.



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