Park City Council approves affordable housing
The Park City Council has given the green light to a development next to Utah Film Studios at Quinn’s Junction that will have 185 rental units of workforce housing and 100 market rate residential units.
The project, called Studio Crossing, also will have 60,000 square feet of commercial space. The developer, Quinn Capital Partners LLC, plans to include recreational amenities and paths with pocket parks throughout the site.
City councilors voted 3-2 on Dec. 15 to approve the plan, with Ryan Dickey and Jeremy Rubell dissenting. Max Doilney, Becca Gerber and Tana Toly voted in favor of the project.
Rubell said he’s concerned public safety agencies have not reviewed the project and signed off on it.
“To be at this point and not have a stamp of approval from the fire district, it makes no sense,” he said.
Dickey said he’s concerned about the development leading to more traffic.
If people who now drive to work move into the workforce housing, new businesses will open to serve them and there will be a demand for more workers, who will be commuting to work from out of town, Dickey said. He said he wants to get an analysis of the net impact on the number of vehicles that will be on the road as a result of the new units and businesses.
Doilney said the project has gone through an arduous process and “has literally met every single bar and then some.”
“That should be taken into account,” he said.
The studio, which previously was called Park City Film Studios, was built under a 2012 development agreement that also proposed a media campus, a 100-room hotel, an amphitheater and commercial space. Only Phase 1 – which includes sound stages, a workshop and production offices – has been constructed, according to a Park City staff report.
Park City developer Gary Crandall, who leads Quinn Capital Partners and helped finance the project, acquired the studio in 2017. In addition, Crandall and his sons Ryan Crandall and Matthew Crandall, who are his partners in the Crandall Capital real estate firm, acquired 25 acres of adjacent property.
Last year, then-City Council members Steve Joyce, and Nann Worel, who is now Park City mayor, talked to the developers about amending the original plan to produce more community benefits. In December 2021, Quinn Capital Partners proposed the change from a film studio campus to a mixed-use development with affordable housing.
The developers say Studio Crossing will be a transit and trail-oriented development. Project amenities will include a sheltered bus stop within the development, an e-bike and bike fix-it station and a connection to the Rail Trail that will allow workers to bicycle to their jobs. An electric bikeshare location on site and covered bike storage at each of the affordable housing buildings also are planned.
Among the other amenities planned are a community plaza with a stage and play structure, multi-use paths with pocket parks and benches, two pickleball courts, a bocce ball court and a half basketball court.
“This proposal will convert a substantial portion of the existing commercial square footage to affordable housing and create a vibrant, year-round neighborhood compatible with surrounding residents,” the developers say in their plan documents.
Ryan Crandall said they hope to break ground on the project sometime in mid-summer.
Jason Glidden, Park City affordable housing program manager, notes in a staff report that the original development plan did not include affordable housing and says the changes will benefit the community. The report also says having 100 market rate residential units instead of the proposed 100-room hotel will reduce the number of nightly rentals on the property.
The plan for the workforce housing calls for 77 studio apartments, 63 one-bedroom units, 30 two-bedroom units and 15 three-bedroom units.
People making 80% or less of the 2021 area median income (AMI) in Summit County will be eligible to rent the workforce units. To qualify for a studio, a single occupant’s income would have to be $66,960 or lower and the rent would be 30% of that amount, according to the staff report.
To initially fill the units, renters will be selected in this order:
- Employees in the immediate Quinn’s Junction neighborhood, including employees of Intermountain Park City Hospital, USSA, the Peace House, Summit County Health Department, Park City Ice Arena and Summit Pediatrics;
- Employees within Park City boundaries;
- Employees within the Park City School District boundaries; and
- Employees within Summit County.
Studio Crossing is expected to contribute significantly to the city’s goal of developing 800 new units to deal with an “extreme shortage” of long-term rental inventory.
“According to the 2021 Housing Needs Assessment, Park City is the only city in Utah where the number of jobs (11,000) outnumbers the population (8,500), requiring extraordinary levels of commuting by relatively lower-wage employees,” a staff report says. “The lack of affordable housing contributes to the local labor shortage, the high cost of local services, reduced air quality, and traffic congestion at peak hours.”
Representatives of nonprofit organizations have spoken in favor of the development.
Megan McKenna, of Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, told council members that like any project, Studio Crossing is not perfect.
“We would all love to see 100% affordable housing,” she said but added that under the new plan, the development will be a net gain for the community.
“It’s remarkable where it started and to see where it is now,” said McKenna, who is housing advocate at the trust’s Housing Resource Center.
In a letter to the Park City Planning Commission, Shellie Barrus, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Summit and Wasatch Counties, said the organization has seen the change that happens as a result of living in affordable, stable housing in the community where you work.
“Children do better in school, and parents report more family time when school, work, and home are all in the same community,” Barrus wrote.
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