City Hall snaps up a work force unit in the Line |

City Hall snaps up a work force unit in the Line

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

City Hall has purchased a unit in the Line Condominiums, a last-ditch move that kept the condominium part of the local stock of work force housing after the owner moved out and the lender put it up for sale.

Park City paid $133,089 for the unit at a trustee sale in October. City Hall was the only bidder. The unit has two bedrooms and one bathroom. It measures 850 square feet and comes with one space in the Line’s garage.

The Line, 555 Deer Valley Drive, is among Mountainlands Community Housing Trust’s most ambitious work force housing developments.

It was a strategic purchase for City Hall, with people involved indicating that the unit could have lost the work force restrictions meant to keep the condominium affordable had someone else purchased the place at the trustee sale. People who purchase in restricted work force developments like the Line must qualify through a formula based on the area’s median income.

Mountainlands, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing housing options in Park City and the surrounding area for people who cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market, did not exercise its right to purchase the unit before anyone else, creating a situation that would have allowed the lender to sell the unit on the open market. purchasing the unit, City Hall is able to keep the place a part of the work force housing inventory.

Scott Loomis, the executive director of Mountainlands, said the unit is the only one at the Line to be put on the market through a trustee sale, a selling process used when an owner is in default on a loan. The owner by October had been in default on the loan for several months, according to Loomis, who said he has been told the owner had moved to California. He said the case illustrates the wide effects of the recession.

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"It’s pretty typical of the times — not just people living in affordable housing," Loomis said.

Loomis said he contacted City Hall about the unit after an attorney handling the trustee sale indicated it would be difficult for Mountainlands to exercise its rights to purchase the unit before it was offered on the open market.

Phyllis Robinson, who directs City Hall’s housing programs, said the unit will be fixed up and then sold as work force housing. Some light fixtures were removed, but the owner left several pieces of furniture, she said. Robinson said the unit will likely be priced at approximately $140,000, which takes into account the money that will be needed to make repairs.

Robinson said officials want to sell the unit by March, but a procedure for prospective buyers has not been finalized. She said the place might be offered to people on a waiting list kept by Mountainlands, it could be sold to a municipal worker or it might go to somebody who is on a waiting list kept by City Hall.

"It’s important to folks to know City Hall’s very committed . . . to preserving affordability," Robinson said, adding, "We don’t want to lose any restricted units."

The Line went up in the middle of the decade as one of the most significant work force projects inside Park City in years. The construction was beset by delays and cost overruns, though, and there were tense moments between Mountainlands and City Hall, which financially supported the 22-unit development.

City Hall has long considered itself a supporter of the ideas behind work force housing, saying that it is best if rank-and-file workers are able to live locally. They would otherwise be priced out of Park City’s resort-driven real estate market, the most expensive in the state.

Supporters say housing the work force locally adds economic diversity to Park City and cuts down commuter traffic, among other benefits often cited.