Park City provides rent abatement for tenants in City Hall-owned properties
Park City officials have provided a two-month abatement in rent to a group of tenants occupying space in buildings under City Hall ownership, one in a series of steps the municipal government has taken in recent weeks to assist amid the economic convulsions caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The abatement covers rent for April and May for approximately 20 tenants. The tenants stretch through a number of municipal properties, such as the Park City Library and the buildings where an arts and culture district is planned along Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard. Businesses and not-for-profit tenants are housed in the properties.
Heinrich Deters, who manages real estate for City Hall, said some of the businesses remain open while some are temporarily shuttered. Some of the abatements covered the full amount of rent while others were a partial abatement. Other tenants declined to accept an abatement, he said.
The broad restrictions instituted by health officials in an effort to stop the spread of the disease have led to widespread business losses across Park City as many places temporarily closed toward the end of the ski season and remain closed in the shoulder season. Deters said the effects reached the tenants in the municipal properties.
“We’re trying to lead by example,” Deters said about the possibility that private-sector landlords could be influenced to offer a similar abatement, adding, “There’s been impacts to some of our tenants.”
He said the tenants are continuing to incur costs without the ability to generate revenue.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council authorized the rent abatements. In a letter to the tenants, Park City Manager Matt Dias indicated the spread of the novel coronavirus and the subsequent restrictions were beyond their control. The abatement is designed to “help ease the economic hardship this has created for our tenants,” the letter says. The letter also indicates the other lease terms are in effect and that the tenants should “take reasonable efforts to secure and protect the property against loss or theft” if a business is temporarily shuttered.
The total dollar figure involved in the abatements was not available by early in the week. Deters said the figure depends on the amount requested by the tenants and is “constantly monitored and evaluated.”
One of the tenants that received a rent abatement is the not-for-profit Mountain Trails Foundation, which keeps its offices in a City Hall-owned building along Bonanza Drive. Charlie Sturgis, the executive director, said the abatement will offset operations expenses such as gasoline purchases.
“Every little bit helps, especially in these more difficult times,” Sturgis said, adding, “It makes everything easier.”
The rent abatements are part of a wider municipal assistance effort designed to help businesses, organizations or individuals that are struggling. City Hall last week indicated it intends to distribute a combined $150,000 in special relief grants to five organizations seen as providing crucial assistance in the community, led by $60,000 earmarked for the Christian Center of Park City.
A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of a City Council meeting on Thursday outlined the rent abatements, saying the “program evaluated tenant leases within city owned facilities focusing on businesses and non-profits impacted by current health orders. Numerous tenants were granted full or partial rent abatement for April and May. Staff will continue to evaluate businesses who are still operating, should conditions change in which an abatement should be considered.”
There have been reports of rent reductions in the private sector as well, including a property owner with holdings at the Resort Center and Newpark who reduced rents in April by an average of 50% for approximately 50 businesses or individuals.
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Sales-tax collections in Park City in July beat City Hall projections by a wide margin, providing a key data point that illustrates a nascent economic comeback of sorts from the spring business shutdowns.