Developer wants to gut the historic ClaimJumper |

Developer wants to gut the historic ClaimJumper

For Bill Lutz, a shuttered ClaimJumper on Main Street means fewer people strolling through his home-decor shop than he expects he would see if the building was open.

At Livin’ Life, the shop he co-owns near the building, diners would stop in after eating at the ClaimJumper, 573 Main St., if restaurant still was serving meals.

"We loved it when the good old ClaimJumper was there. You had a restaurant, so when people were done eating, they would go shopping," Lutz says.

The ClaimJumper appears abandoned from the outside and doors are locked. Developers are pursuing an approval for what would be an ambitious renovation of the building, including adding a story and putting in residential units. The building had most recently housed office space and the restaurant.

City Hall is considering the ClaimJumper renovation. Brooks Robinson, a City Hall planner, says the developers need several approvals before they can proceed. He says they want to demolish parts of the building on the downhill side and the rear.

The city must determine whether those parts are historic and Robinson says they were added in the last 20 years. That means they will likely be found not to be historic. Robinson reports the developers also want to take down an overhang that sits above the building’s front stairs.

They then want to build 10 residential units although it is unclear from an application what sort of units they would be.

Robinson reports the building currently has a basement, a Main Street level and two floors above the street. The developers want to reopen a restaurant in the space the ClaimJumper occupied.

"Having residential above commercial is a good idea for Main Street. It can have that kind of mixed use. You don’t need to bring a car. You’re right where you want to be, Main Street," Robinson says, noting other Main Street buildings that feature living space above retailers, like the Dolly’s Bookstore-Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory building.

Even locked, The ClaimJumper remains one of Main Street’s best-known buildings, the place where scores of Parkites and visitors went to dine on steaks in the period Park City was becoming a popular skiing destination.

A historical marker on the building notes a hotel opened at the site in 1913, after a fire destroyed a building there the year before. The hotel, the marker says, closed in 1952, as Park City’s silver-mining industry slumped. The building reopened in the mid-1960s as a hotel, restaurant and private club and, in 1992, the hotel rooms were converted to offices after a fire, the marker notes.

A firm known as 573 Main Street LLC owns the building. The Summit County Assessor’s Office values the property at $2,460,000 and it was last appraised in 2005. The owners paid $23,704.56 in property taxes in 2006, according to the Assessor’s Office.

A member of the ownership firm did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment and The Park Record was unable to contact the local design representative.

A written description of the plans submitted to City Hall by the development team says the project intends to "preserve the value of the historic structure" while improving the commercial space and adding the residential units. It notes ClaimJumper property fronting Park Avenue will be developed in the future but details are not outlined.

If the owners pursue a Park Avenue-fronting project, neighbors will likely monitor the proceedings. People who live on upper Park Avenue typically question projects that stretch from the Main Street side to their mostly residential neighborhood.

There have not been widespread public discussions about the project. Robinson predicts the developers could win the necessary approvals by the beginning of the summer. If they do, construction could start soon after.

Lutz, the shop owner, worries about losing business during the construction at the ClaimJumper. He does not expect Livin’ Life will be put out of business during the work but sales, he predicts, will suffer.

"Not just my business, all the businesses on this side," Lutz says.

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