Details emerge about New Yorker with 50 percent stake in Treasure
December 6, 2011
Two sides in the long-running talks about the Treasure development are well known to Parkites: City Hall and the Sweeneys, a family with deep ties to the community.
There is a third side, though, that only people who have followed the discussions very closely would even be aware exists. The Sweeney family has occasionally mentioned that it has a partner in the development, but it has been the Sweeneys, not the other party, who have been leading the efforts in front of the public since 2004.
As the talks about the prospects of a taxpayer-funded conservation agreement for the Treasure land near a red-letter date, details are emerging about the Sweeney family’s partner in the project.
The partner is a firm known as Park City II, LLC, with an address in New York City’s trendy Tribeca neighborhood. The manager of the firm is a woman named Elizabeth Rad, according to records filed with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code.
Rad did not immediately respond to an interview request left with a spokesperson at another one of her business interests.
The attorney who represents her in the Treasure negotiations, Salt Lake City-based Craig Call, said Rad lives in New York City. He has represented Rad since earlier in 2011.
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"She’s enjoyed the community. That’s why she’s invested there," Call said, adding that Rad has a "strong interest in the long-term future" of Treasure and Park City.
Rad’s position as a partner in Treasure puts her in a key role in the talks with City Hall. Mike Sweeney, one of the family’s representatives in the discussions, said Rad’s firm has equal power with the Sweeney family to approve or reject a deal with City Hall.
According to Sweeney, Park City II, LLC owns 50 percent of Treasure, both the land and the development rights. The firm in late 2006 acquired its share from other investors who had partnered with the Sweeney family in the 1970s, Sweeney said. He said the Sweeney family is not involved in other Rad interests.
Rad previously invested in a resort outside of Moab, the Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, becoming the owner in 2008, a spokesperson for Sorrel River said. The resort offers an equestrian center, a spa and a restaurant on the banks of the Colorado River.
The Treasure negotiations have entered a critical phase, and City Hall and the Sweeney-Park City II, LLC side last week agreed to continue the talks until at least mid-March. The sides by then hope to agree to pursue one of the two conservation options that are under consideration — a full buyout of the development rights or a reduction of the scope of Treasure by 50 percent.
City Hall, meanwhile, on or close to Dec. 16 expects to make public the dollar figure the Treasure side has put on a full buyout. A conservation deal would require voter approval to raise the money City Hall needs.
The Treasure land is situated on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The Sweeney family secured development rights on the Treasure land and nearby parcels in the 1980s. The Treasure proposal calls for upward of 1 million square feet of residential and commercial development.
Treasure critics, including people living on streets like Empire Avenue and Lowell Avenue, contend the development would loom over Old Town and traffic to and from the project would overwhelm neighborhood streets.
Mayor Dana Williams, one of City Hall’s negotiators, said he has met Rad once, during a round of closed-door discussions involving teams from City Hall, the Sweeney family and Rad’s firm. Call, the Park City II, LLC attorney, attends each meeting, the mayor said.
Williams said the Sweeney family holds a more philosophical view of Treasure and its potential to boost business on Main Street than Rad’s firm does. He described Park City II, LLC’s perspective as being more investment driven.
"It’s fairly typical that in development projects you have investors. That’s nothing new at all," Williams said.