Park City Film Studios sold as part of lawsuit settlement
New owner, a Park City developer, intends to rename it ‘Utah Film Studios’
September 13, 2017
After a lengthy lawsuit, a new owner is directing the action at Park City Film Studios.
Park City developer Gary Crandall, who helped finance the studio, recently settled a legal battle with Greg Ericksen, the project’s developer, giving Crandall and his two sons, Ryan Crandall and Matthew Crandall, ownership of the property, according to a press release from the Crandalls' lawyer, Eric Lee. Ericksen later confirmed the agreement.
The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The litigation, which began in 2015, stemmed from an alleged arrangement between Ericksen's firm, Quinn's Junction Properties, LC, and Quinn Capital Partners, LLC, controlled by Gary Crandall, during the construction of the studio. According to court documents, Crandall claimed the sides agreed that Quinn Capital Partners would receive equity in Quinn's Junction Properties, a share of management ownership at the film studio and an eventual 75 percent interest in the part of the property where commercial space would be built in exchange for about $12 million to revive the project after work on it stalled in 2014.
Ericksen later countersued, claiming that Crandall engaged in what the suit termed a "fraudulent scheme" when he offered the funding and that he never intended to provide the full sum of money, court documents state. The countersuit alleged that Crandall aimed to obtain a loan on the property, foreclose, then acquire the studio for well below market value.
The litigation was originally filed in 3rd District Court at Silver Summit, but the sides settled in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, according to court documents.
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In an interview Wednesday, Ericksen said the resolution was "an amicable settlement for both parties." Still, he admitted that it will be hard to move on from the project he brought to fruition.
"There's both a sense of difficulty in seeing that, but on the other hand we're moving forward in other areas," he said, adding that he believes the film studio will ultimately be successful.
Crandall said in an interview that he intends to rename the property "Utah Film Studios" as part of the settlement agreement, while the release notes it will also allow them to move on from what it termed Park City Film Studios’ "checkered past." The studio has long been controversial in Park City, and its construction was plagued by delays and financing problems. It served as the filming location of the 2015 ABC drama "Blood & Oil" and a handful of other projects, but has also suffered periods of apparent inactivity.
Crandall said his family took over operation of the studio in April. Since then, it attracted the upcoming Paramount Network drama "Yellowstone," starring Kevin Costner, which has been filming around the Park City area in recent weeks.
"We did the negotiations with the ‘Yellowstone’ people to get them there," Crandall said.
Ericksen said Thursday that he had an active role in bringing the television show to the studio. He elaborated in a prepared statement, saying the show's executive producer was impressed while filming a previous project at the studio and wanted to use it again.
"Even while the now dismissed litigation was going forward, we were able to keep the studio occupied on a relatively consistent basis…," he said in the statement.
Ericksen's statement also indicated that he will retain the Park City Film Studios brand and operate it as a technology company focused on producing family-friendly media and content.
"This has always been my passion and part of the business plan," he said in the statement. "I'm grateful to be able to move into this endeavor while turning the studio management/development over to the Crandall family."
In addition to the studio, the Crandalls acquired 25 acres of adjacent commercial property in the settlement, according to the release from Lee. The family intends to eventually build a hotel and office space at the site, but does not have a timeline for the completion of the projects.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information.