Claim Jumper wants to recapture status as a grande dame |

Claim Jumper wants to recapture status as a grande dame

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The historic Claim Jumper building on Main Street, once a grande dame but more recently a property that came to symbolize the recession’s effects on Park City, will be redeveloped after sitting largely empty since the middle of the last decade.

The development team undertaking a major renovation of the building on Thursday night secured a key vote, a 5-0 tally, from the Park City Council. The elected officials allowed the developers to combine six full lots and portions of others into three lots, clearing up underlying lot lines and allowing the renovation to proceed.

Nobody testified prior to the vote on Thursday. There had been opposition from some people who live on nearby Park Avenue as the Park City Planning Commission considered the project, but a series of concessions were made as the discussions proceeded. One of them included a restriction on doors allowing pedestrian flow between the Main Street side and the Park Avenue side.

The opposition was not based on the renovation of the building but rather the impacts the neighbors foresaw from the activity once it is opened.

There has been work ongoing inside the building, and Joe Wrona, an attorney who represents the developers, said construction will continue this summer and into the fall. He said the renovation of the building is expected to be completed by mid-2013. The building will be "restored to its former glory," Wrona said.

"I think the community is going to be pleased by what they see next summer," he said, adding that the Claim Jumper in recent years appeared to be "for all practical purposes, like an abandoned building."

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Under the renovation plans, the basement level and the main level will be turned into commercial space. There will be one condominium on the second floor and one condominium on the third floor. Earlier in the summer, the developer’s side indicated a restaurant-bar could be put into the basement level.

Wrona said the condominiums will be "substantial in size," but details have not been set. He said marketing has not started.

The developers also want to build two houses on the Park Avenue side of the property, where a parking lot now sits. A timeline for the houses has not been set.

The Claim Jumper building, 573 Main St., occupies a high-profile location close to the midpoint of Main Street. It is one of the largest buildings on the street and is among the city’s most notable historic buildings. It was a hotel decades ago, and it more recently housed a restaurant an office space.

An Arizona developer held plans to redo the Claim Jumper but lost the building, as well as a portfolio of others on or close to Main Street, amid the recession. The owner of the Claim Jumper is now an Oklahoma City firm known as 573 Main Street LLC.

The Claim Jumper has been used in the past few years during the Sundance Film Festival under a temporary rental agreement with the search engine Bing. The developer’s side said in an interview after the Thursday vote the building will be used again during the 2013 festival, but it is uncertain if Bing will return as the temporary tenant. Much of the early resistance from people who live nearby was based on the activity during Sundance.

The redo of the Claim Jumper building comes alongside other investments in the Main Street area, including work at the historic Imperial Hotel at the southern end of the street. A developer, meanwhile, recently struck a deal for the Rio Grande parcel on Park Avenue, steps from Main Street. There has been recent talk about the possibilities of a gondola being built linking the Main Street district with Deer Valley, one of the most ambitious ideas on the street in some time.