Park City Kimball Arts Festival: New building drawn into the scene |

Park City Kimball Arts Festival: New building drawn into the scene

Many Park City Kimball Arts Festival visitors may see a new building at the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue for the first time over the weekend. The Kimball Art Center, the festival organizer, once was located in a historic building that is under renovation as part of the overall project at the high-profile corner.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

People attending the Park City Kimball Arts Festival over the weekend will see numerous artworks for the first time as they peruse the booths.

Many will see something much larger for the first time as well.

The crews involved in a major redevelopment of a property at the Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection, the former location of festival organizer Kimball Art Center, recently unwrapped the new building. It is an expansion of the historic building that once housed the Kimball Art Center itself and occupies the space where a patio once was located.

It is one of the most significant developments along Main Street of the past 20 years given the high-profile location, the involvement of a historic building and the hotly contested decisions that were made leading to the project.

The work has been ongoing in the historic building as well as on the expansion, but the revealing of the new section after it had been wrapped for protection provides people along Main Street an opportunity to dwell on the addition to the streetscape.

The building stands at a crucial corner along Main Street, a location that in some ways is seen as one of Park City’s most important intersections since Parkites regularly drive by and visitors will likely be at the location at some point during their stay in the community.

The developer, under the corporate umbrella of a California firm called Columbus Pacific Properties, devised a commercial project after City Hall resistance to one involving residences and commercial space.

But the project that continues to progress followed after what was one of Park City’s great development disputes. The Kimball Art Center initially wanted to redevelop the property for its own purposes, proposing an expansion onto the patio at the corner and a renovation of the existing building. The not-for-profit organization envisioned more space for exhibits and programs as well as an updated building. It retained a renowned architect to design the expansion.

Two Bjarke Ingels Group concepts met resistance as critics claimed they did not fit the historic streetscape of Main Street. The resistance led the Kimball Art Center to, dramatically, sell the property to the developer and move into temporary quarters along Kearns Boulevard as the organization’s leadership considered long-range options. The Kimball Art Center has since indicated it wants to develop a building in a planned arts and culture district on the Kearns Boulevard corridor.

The developer of the former Kimball Art Center location is expected to tap well-known brands to occupy the building. There are also continuing discussions about a controversial bid by the developer to operate an event space in the building. People who live nearby are worried that an event space would be too noisy and attract too much traffic, while the developer claims steps will be taken to guard against those sorts of problems. The Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday is scheduled to tour the building but not discuss the proposal for the event space.

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