City Hall sets mid-2013 as target date for a Treasure agreement |

City Hall sets mid-2013 as target date for a Treasure agreement

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

City Hall does not envision finalizing a development deal with the Treasure partnership until mid-2013, a timeline that would give the two sides another 11 months to negotiate an agreement that has thus far been elusive.

The June 2013 target was outlined in a wide-ranging report focused on the work plan of the municipality’s economic development team. The report was released on Monday in anticipation of a Thursday meeting of the Park City Council. The elected officials are not expected to discuss Treasure in any depth on Thursday, however.

The report is printed with the word "Sample" diagonally across the page, which is meant as an acknowledgement that the details could be modified later.

But the target date for an agreement is one of the most intriguing bits of information released by either City Hall or the Treasure partnership in months. There has been little made public about the negotiations since the beginning of 2012.

According to the report, City Hall would like to reach an accord with the partnership that keeps half of the Treasure development rights at the site itself, located on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The rest of the development rights would be shifted to one of the spots Park City leaders have determined is suitable for additional growth, known as receiving zones.

The scenario of keeping half of the rights at the Treasure site and shifting the rest to another location has been discussed publicly for a time and appears to have support among the people involved and some Parkites.

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The report, meanwhile, briefly mentions ski improvements and describes an interest by leaders to ensure there is lodging available at the Treasure site.

The team responsible for the negotiations includes City Manager Tom Bakaly, City Attorney Mark Harrington and Jon Weidenhamer, who manages City Hall’s economic development efforts, according to the report.

Mike Sweeney, who is one of his family’s negotiators in the talks with City Hall, said on Monday he had not yet read the report and declined to comment on the timeline outlined by City Hall.

The Treasure negotiations have been ongoing for most of the past two-plus years. The Park City side was initially interested in a taxpayer-funded buyout of the development rights, but ditched that idea late in 2011. The Treasure side wanted just less than $93 million in a buyout, a price tag that was too large for City Hall to pursue.

As a buyout was nixed, the two sides focused on an idea to dramatically rework the project through a shift in half of the development rights to another location. The discussions have been held almost exclusively in private, and it is not clear how much progress has been made. It is also unclear what location most interests the Treasure side if the rights are shifted. City Hall earlier designated a few places as spots where development rights could be shifted toward, including the Bonanza Park district and Snow Park.

The Treasure partnership consists of the Sweeney family and a firm known as Park City II, LLC. The Sweeney family held the Treasure acreage for years and in the 1980s secured an overall development approval for the Treasure land and nearby parcels. It later sold a 50 percent interest in the land to the other firm.

The partnership envisions 1 million square feet of development on the Treasure land, including a hotel and a convention center. Talks with the Park City Planning Commission stalled after several years as worries mounted about traffic and the size of the buildings. There has been neighborhood opposition as well.