Montage granted an around-the-clock construction schedule |

Montage granted an around-the-clock construction schedule

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

City Hall this week approved a request from the developers of the Montage to expand the times construction is allowed at the site to 24 hours a day, the first all-day, all-night work schedule allowed inside Park City since at least 1980.

Ron Ivie, the chief building official at City Hall, approved the expanded construction schedule through a letter he signed on Wednesday. Ivie said the developers had indicated they wanted to start the overnight shift as soon as practical. The developers, known as The Athens Group, said in a statement, though, the construction crews do not have current plans to start a 24-hour schedule.

Ivie has held the chief building official position since 1980 and said he had not previously approved a 24-hour schedule for a developer. The construction industry prior to Ivie’s arrival was not nearly as busy as it has been during his 30-year tenure, meaning that the Montage could be the first project with an approved 24-hour construction schedule in Park City’s modern era.

An opening date has not been set for the Montage, situated on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort in Empire Pass, but the developers hope it is operating by the beginning of Deer Valley’s 2010-2011 ski season.

"If it were downtown, if it were the Sky Lodge, we probably wouldn’t have considered it," Ivie said, noting the tucked-away location of the Montage. "The advantage of this site is it’s fairly remote."

According to Ivie, the developers anticipated putting 100 workers on the overnight shift. During a normal daytime shift, he said, between 800 and 900 workers are at the site. Ivie said the approval for the 24-hour construction prohibits deliveries during the overnight shift and the crews cannot work on the exterior of the building.

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The Building Department had already granted the developers slightly extended construction hours from City Hall’s standard schedule. Construction crews normally are allowed to work from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Sundays.

The Montage developers say the overnight shift would be limited to workers assigned to cleanup duties, indoors finishing work and installing furniture.

"The vast majority of construction is taking place in the normal construction hours," said Jeff Mongan, an executive with The Athens Group, adding that the possibility of a 24-hour schedule provides the crews with "more flexibility."

Ivie recently briefed the Park City Planning Commission, telling the panel City Hall retains "a lot of control" over the construction rules. Ivie told Charlie Wintzer, the chairman of the Planning Commission, the 24-hour schedule can be revoked if there are problems. Ivie also told the panel the expanded schedule at the Montage would not affect the construction of a few houses being built nearby in Empire Pass.

Marianne Cone, a former Park City Councilwoman who lives on Prospect Avenue, close to the primary driving route to Empire Pass, briefly addressed the Planning Commission, inquiring about traffic to and from the Montage site under the 24-hour schedule. Ivie said the shifts would be designed in a manner that will not increase the number of vehicles on Marsac Avenue, the main access road to Empire Pass.

Ivie said in an interview he had received two complaint letters prior to his approval of the 24-hour schedule. One was from someone with a Marsac Avenue address living close to the Montage site, Ivie said. The letter writer was worried about lights and noise from the site as well as the amount of construction traffic, according to Ivie. Since the overnight work would be indoors, the developers do not expect there will be impacts to the sparsely populated neighborhood, Mongan said.

"Neighbors shouldn’t be impacted at all," he said.

The Montage is seen as the anchor of Empire Pass, an exclusive development envisioned for years before construction started in the last decade. It will be among the largest buildings ever put up in Park City, encompassing a 174-room hotel, 81 condominiums, a 35,000-square-foot spa, 15,000 square feet of meeting space and restaurants.

The hotel will add another exclusive property to the Park City-area’s stable of high-end lodging options. There has been a hotel boom in the last decade or so, with places like the St. Regis, the Sky Lodge and the Dakota Mountain Lodge, which is part of the Waldorf Astoria brand, entering the Park City market.

The Montage single-handedly propped up the Park City construction industry’s numbers in 2009, with a permit issued early last year accounting for 39 percent of the year-end total tallied by the Building Department. It is unusual for one permit to weigh so heavily on the annual total. The Montage permit, expected to be the final one of significant value at the site, was pegged at $26.9 million. The citywide year-end tally in 2009 was $68.5 million.

"We’re making our push toward completion and opening of our hotel at the end of the year," Mongan said.