Developer nears deal for Rio Grande parcel steps from Main Street
A Park City developer said on Monday he is a member of a partnership that is close to finalizing an agreement to purchase a small but well-placed piece of ground just off Main Street, another signal that the street continues to be an attractive investment amid the economic uncertainty.
Rory Murphy said he expects the deal for 820 Park Ave. to close soon. There is a small historic building and a parking lot at the address. The historic building was used to store luggage bags for the Rio Grande Western Railroad when it operated at the site. The building dates to 1897, Murphy said. The parcel is approximately one-third of an acre.
Murphy declined to discuss the financial terms of the deal. The property is currently part of a trust with Gail and Lori Potter being named as part of the ownership, according to the Summit County Assessor’s Office. The Assessor’s Office values the land and the building at $605,021, with most of the value in the land.
"Park City is and will remain a valuable location to develop real estate. I have complete confidence and faith in the future Park City real estate market," Murphy said, adding, "Park City is a tremendously good investment right now, particularly Main Street."
The parcel does not have Main Street frontage, but it is located steps away from the shopping, dining and entertainment strip. It is also situated just down Park Avenue from the bottom terminal of the Town Lift.
Murphy said the negotiations started a few months ago. He did not outline a development timeline.
Murphy is a veteran developer in Park City and once served in the city’s Planning Commission. Before his appointment to the panel, he led the development team that secured the approvals for the slopeside Silver Star project on the edge of Thaynes Canyon. He was a key figure at United Park City Mines as the firm secured the hard-fought approvals for the project that was built as Empire Pass.
He is unsure what sort of development will be pursued on the parcel. He said the historic building will be made a part of a new project, though. It seems likely given the location and development trends in Park City that a project could feature commercial space on the ground floor and residential square footage on the upper floors.
"We are trying to propose a development that incorporates the old building and really gives it a chance to be showcased," Murphy said, acknowledging that he expects a proposal will be "closely scrutinized" since it is located at a well-traveled spot.
Murphy and the Silver Star development team were widely praised for the preservation efforts undertaken at that site. The project is situated on land that was important during Park City’s silver-mining era. The developers refashioned some of the old buildings into ones that could be occupied and preserved other relics.
The commercial real estate market in the Main Street core struggled in the recession, but there have been bright spots in the past year. Most notably, a developer named Ken Abdalla has purchased a series of properties along Main Street.
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“We’re kind of turning the corner … and it’s now time to maybe put out the welcome mat in a careful and thoughtful manner,” said Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.”