Costco might come to the Park City area |

Costco might come to the Park City area

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

People in the Park City area might soon be buying gigantic packages of paper towels and catsup in bulk.

Costco may be coming to Summit County.

For years the Air Force has been in discussions with Park City and Summit County about a location for a hotel for vacationing soldiers. Some local officials have expected the project to attract a big retailer to the Snyderville Basin because an anchor tenant like Costco could help the developer offset the costs of having to provide room discounts to airmen. A bill moving through the state Legislature could make it easier for the Air Force to build on property not adjacent to military land, so there is speculation that Costco is looking at a site near The Home Depot.

As written, Senate Bill 124 could allow the military hotel and commercial development to occur on up to 150 acres of property not adjacent to military land as long as a city or county owns at least 50 acres of the parcel being considered for development. Park City and Summit County jointly purchased about 111 acres near The Home Depot in the Snyderville Basin about two years ago.

Officials in Park City said they support SB 124. The bill could provide a way for the military to build its commercial center at Silver Creek and the hotel in a more favorable location than Quinn’s Junction.

Part of the reason the city and county purchased the Silver Creek property was to have space for public works facilities to expand in the future.

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Now there "are indications" that a big-box retailer is interested in building on the parcel, Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said in a telephone interview Friday.

"In order to make the Air Force housing work, the Air Force needed a revenue-generating component," Callahan said.

Meanwhile, an official at Costco did not return telephone calls seeking comment for this story.

"That has been reported as a result of discussions with the Air Force," Summit County Councilwoman Sally Elliott said about the possibility of Costco coming to the Park City area. "I really am not authorized to discuss it with you. That’s one of those property-acquisition things that are covered by the Utah sunshine law, and I am not at liberty to talk to you about it."

In an interview, Park City Mayor Dana Williams said he could not confirm whether Costco has considered the location in the Snyderville Basin. Park City Manager Tom Bakaly would not comment about the situation when reached Friday.

The military has property near Quinn’s Junction but local officials have tried to convince the Air Force not to build its hotel there because the size of the project would not comply with zoning ordinances in that area. Developers considered building one of the largest hotels in Utah at Quinn’s Junction last year as state lawmakers approved a bill that allows the Air Force to develop recreational facilities in cooperation with private landowners whose property borders military land.

Local officials said they must wait for state lawmakers to decide whether to approve SB 124 before they can make any announcements.