City Hall sells hotel in lucrative deal
The Park City Council on Thursday night authorized the sale of the City Hall-owned Imperial Hotel in a lucrative deal that will return the hotel to the private sector and net the government almost $2.2 million.
A firm known as Avenue Communities, LLC agreed to buy the Imperial, 221 Main St., a house at 222 Grant Ave. and parking spots at 206 Swede Alley from the government for $3,050,000. City Hall in 2003 paid $875,000 for the property in a foreclosure sale.
The City Councilors unanimously agreed to the deal. The officials did not speak extensively about the sale but seemed happy that the government was selling at a profit after it was unable to use the hotel as trade bait with the Air Force for open space, the intent of the 2003 purchase.
Before the vote, City Councilwoman Candy Erickson said that she was thrilled to be out of the hotel business.
Afterward Mayor Dana Williams said in an interview that Park City’s hot real estate market helped the government.
"We were certainly the beneficiary of an amazing jump in the market," Williams said.
The deal is expected to close within 90 days.
The government bought the Imperial from the federal Small Business Administration in an effort to then trade the hotel to the Air Force for open space.
The Air Force has long been interested in operating a hotel in the Park City area that offers reduced rates for people in the military. The Air Force previously operated such a facility at Snowbasin but lost that hotel in the period before the 2002 Winter Olympics as Snowbasin underwent a major expansion.
City Hall offered the Imperial to the Air Force in exchange for about 20 acres of open space off S.R. 248 but a deal was not struck, leaving Park City with the Imperial. Other discussions regarding the open space are expected, however.
Word circulated on Thursday that Avenue Communities is the same firm involved in the purchase of the Claim Jumper building on Main Street and another Main Street parcel.
Robert McGarey, the chief of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Southwest Retail Group, who represented the buyers on Thursday, declined to comment after the City Council vote.
The Imperial has been closed since the end of March, when a contract with a firm to operate the hotel expired.
The Avenue Communities deal was picked over three others.
According to a report submitted to the elected officials before the vote, the firm plans to refurbish the outside and renovate the inside of the Imperial and then continue to use the building as a hotel. The Grant Avenue house will be restored, the report said.
Williams said he would have preferred the Air Force accepting the Imperial in a trade for the open space, known as the Red Maple parcel.
City Hall has not earmarked the profit from the Imperial. Williams said, perhaps, the money could be used in a deal with the Air Force regarding the Red Maple land or for a town plaza that the government plans to build in Swede Alley.
The City Council later will decide how the money is used and Park City Manager Tom Bakaly said the government could use $875,000 of the profit to replenish the part of the budget used to fund the Imperial purchase.
"I think it’s reflective of the market in Old Town," Bakaly said when talking about the deal.
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