Park City celebrates debut of worker condos steps from Rail Trail
Kelsey Austin and her boyfriend live with his parents in Prospector and wondered whether they would have to leave Park City to find housing in their price range.
The couple, like many others in the city’s work force, is priced out of Park City’s resort-driven real estate market, where houses and condominiums regularly soar into the seven digits. Austin, a legal assistant, and her boyfriend, who plans to start a software-development company, though, are preparing to move into a newly built place in a City Hall work force housing project at 1893 Prospector Ave., the Central Park Condominiums. They were selected as buyers during a fall lottery that was seen as a landmark event in the municipal government’s long-running housing efforts.
Austin, others readying to move into the project and City Hall officials gathered at the Central Park Condominiums on Wednesday morning to celebrate the project. It was a festive occasion as the people in attendance toured some of the units and spoke with pride about the development. The building occupies a well-placed location steps from the Rail Trail and within easy walking distance to restaurants, offices and bus routes. Some of the units offer sought-after views toward the Rail Trail and nearby hillside. Poison Creek gurgled nearby.
“I can’t wait. I just want to be moved in, have that kind of security feeling,” she said of home ownership. “I don’t have to move every year.”
Austin is readying to close on a two-bedroom unit. The buyers are expected to move in starting as early as June 8. City Hall said sales contracts have been signed with the closings expected shortly. There are 11 units — 10 two-bedrooms and one studio.
City Hall acquired the building for a little more than $4.3 million well after a private-sector developer started the work. The municipal government expects to recoup most of the purchase price through the sales of the units. The prices range from the $160,000s to the $280,000s. The numbers are well below the median figures in Park City. Officials established income tiers potential buyers needed to meet, with qualifying incomes ranging from $43,418 annually for a one-person household and $83,754 for a three-person household.
Austin said the timing was fortuitous. The couple might have needed to move to find a place to purchase, she said. Park City’s resort-driven real estate market is difficult for many of the community’s rank-and-file workers as they compete against wealthy retirees and people acquiring vacation homes.
“There would have been a good possibility of us going somewhere else. Now we can settle,” she said.
Park City leaders attended the event to celebrate one of City Hall’s notable successes in the housing efforts. Mayor Andy Beerman, members of the Park City Council and high-ranking staffers joined the others in touring the units and talking to people who are preparing to move in.
City Councilor Becca Gerber, who was raised in Park City and champions causes like housing, delivered some of the important remarks on behalf of the municipal government. Growing up in Park City, she recalled, there were lots of families with children in the neighborhood. That has changed over time, she said. The elected officials of today, though, have prioritized the idea of creating what she described as a “complete community.” She also noted some of the green features of the project, such as solar panels as well as energy-efficient lights and appliances. She said the location is along transit routes.
Gerber also told the crowd leaders will continue to pursue housing as a priority, mentioning the efforts in an area City Hall has dubbed Woodside Park. The Woodside Park projects are located in the northern reaches of Old Town along the lower Park Avenue corridor. Officials want to add 800 units of work force or otherwise restricted housing by 2026.
“We are nowhere near the end,” Gerber said.
Rosters of City Hall leaders for years have pressed housing as priority through a variety of measures, including requiring large developers to set aside some units for the work force, acquiring developments to use in the housing program and providing assistance to projects for the work force. The leaders over the years have seen there being broad benefits to the housing program, including promoting socioeconomic diversity and reducing commuter traffic.
The debut of the Central Park Condominiums is scheduled shortly after the arrival of another City Hall project, an eight-house development at 1450-1460 Park Ave. that is known as The Retreat at the Park. Officials held a similar event celebrating the Park Avenue project in February.
An attorney representing a critic of Park City’s plans to build restricted affordable housing in Old Town sent a letter urging officials to meet the same standards that would be required of a private-sector developer in the neighborhood.