Hotel size remains a mystery
April 10, 2009
The Air Force has not necessarily set it sights on a location for a hotel in western Summit County.
"An independent study conducted for the Air Force in fall 2008 pointed out the need for a mixed-use development," Air Force officials said in a prepared statement to The Park Record. "In other words, the success of this development would be enhanced if other attractions were located at the site."
Local officials fear a mega-resort with between 600 and 800 rooms being constructed at Quinn’s Junction near the east entrance into Park City. Builders have discussed coupling the hotel with development of a movie studio.
One of the largest independent film companies in the United States, Raleigh Studios and Raleigh Entertainment, has expressed interest in developing a movie studio at Quinn’s Junction.
"Raleigh Studio’s interest in locating at the Quinn’s Junction site makes it very attractive to any development," according to the prepared statement from the Air Force.
Officials in Summit County say the Air Force officials has discussed building a hotel with between 600 and 800 rooms, which could be the largest hotel in Utah.
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"Until the project is sited, designed and costed out, it’s not possible to give a total number of rooms that will be built," Air Force officials replied when asked about the size of the building. "Our objective is to reserve 25-30 percent of rooms for [Department of Defense] patrons at a reduced room rate."
Since the military would only contribute land to the project, Air Force officials say it is necessary to cooperate with a private developer to fund additional building costs.
"To make the project economically viable, we believe additional rooms beyond those required by the Air Force are needed," according to the prepared statement from the military.
The Air Force wants lodging in a mountain town to replace a small hotel it operated at Snowbasin about a dozen years ago.
A new law may allow builders to bypass strict local zoning codes to develop a massive resort under the Military Installation Development Authority Act, which officials sometimes refer to as MIDA.
"We are confident we can work with MIDA, Summit County and Park City to find a suitable site that will be in the best interest of all the parties," Air Force officials told The Park Record.
Summit County Councilman Chris Robinson expects to discuss possible locations with military representatives at a meeting in San Antonio this month.
He hopes to convince the Air Force to build on land available in the Lower Village at The Canyons, Robinson said.
But a site near The Canyons was already rejected by military officials.
"In a [January] letter to Summit County, the Air Force declined the county’s Lower Village offer at The Canyons while expressing our interest in exploring the possibility of a mixed-use development at Quinn’s Junction," according to the statement from the Air Force.
Nineteen sites in Summit County have been considered for the hotel, according to Air Force officials.
"No site has been selected to date," according to the military.
The Quinn’s Junction Partnership, a landowner at Quinn’s, envisions the project near the Park City limits at the junction of U.S. 40 and State Road 248.
"Since 2005, we have been discussing possible options with the Quinn’s landowner along with other landowners in Summit and Wasatch counties," according to Air Force officials. "During these interactions, we have discussed concepts with various landowners, but we have not entered into any agreements with any of them."