Park City completes $64 million acquisition of Treasure
Park City finalized the acquisition of Treasure without fanfare earlier in March and announced the completion of the most expensive conservation deal the next day, taking ownership of the coveted hillside acreage after more three decades of disputes about the future of the land.
The deal closed on March 20. Mayor Andy Beerman announced the closing to applause at a Park City Council meeting the next day. City Hall paid $64 million to acquire the hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift from the Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family, which was the historic owner of the land, and a firm called Park City II, LLC.
The sides had been finishing the procedural aspects of a real estate transaction since Park City voters on Election Day in November overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure providing the bulk of the funding for the deal.
The acquisition ended a development dispute that dated to the mid-1980s, when Park City leaders of that era approved an overall project on the Treasure acreage and nearby parcels of land. The Treasure side years after the overall approval was granted spent more than a decade in discussions with the Park City Planning Commission about a project encompassing upward of 1 million square feet. The Planning Commission and project critics seized on issues like the traffic a project would generate and the size of the buildings. City Hall and the Treasure partnership eventually reached the $64 million deal that was put to voters.
“This is a big day for Park City, to put this behind us, enjoy the hill, just like it looks today, forever,” Beerman said at the City Council meeting.
Beerman thanked Park City Attorney Mark Harrington for his work on Treasure over the years, noting he assisted three mayoral administrations and numerous members of the City Council as they learned the complexities of the project. He said “no one was so clutch for so long” as he spoke about the city attorney.
City Hall secured financing with an interest rate of 2.46 percent. The financing is backed by the voter-approved ballot measure.
Beerman, meanwhile, said a celebration will likely be planned in June.
The Park City Planning Department will begin the work needed to rezone the land as open space. Beerman said a tool known as a conservation easement will be employed to protect the land from development in perpetuity. City Hall will continue to own the land under a conservation easement, but a third party will enforce the open space restrictions. Other City Hall-held lands are under a conservation easement as well.
The mayor also briefly addressed the relationship between City Hall and Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts, which operates the Town Lift on part of the Treasure land. He said the Colorado firm holds an easement allowing the lift and that the Treasure acquisition by City Hall does not alter the arrangement. He said the Town Lift will continue to operate as skiing infrastructure allowed under the easement held by Vail Resorts.
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Several people approached Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council this week pressing issues important to senior citizens. The issues include the availability of housing for people who want to age in the community.