UPDATED: Park City reaches $30 million deal with Treasure developers
Agreement to reduce disputed project hinges on a ballot measure
December 12, 2017
Park City officials have reached a tentative agreement to acquire half of the development rights attached to the Treasure land on a hillside overlooking Old Town for $30 million, a deal that was announced as a momentous Planning Commission decision about the hotly contested proposal appeared to be approaching by the end of the year.
Mayor Jack Thomas and Mayor-elect Andy Beerman, who is currently a Park City Councilor, detailed the agreement during a briefing with reporters at the Marsac Building on Tuesday afternoon. The financial aspects of the deal would hinge on a $24 million ballot measure that would be put to Park City voters in November of 2018. The other $6 million would be earmarked from City Hall's budget and would require the suspension of plans to build a Main Street plaza and the re-evaluation of other conservation purchases.
If the ballot measure is approved, the Treasure side, now consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC, would rework the project. City Hall said the Treasure side has agreed to pursue a development involving a boutique hotel and 18 houses. The project as designed now includes upward of 1 million square feet of development that would essentially operate as a high-end hotel. The City Hall acquisition would involve the Sweeney family's entire stake in Treasure but none of the stake held by Park City II, LLC.
City Hall said a reworked project would drop the overall scale of Treasure, including lowered heights and a reduced excavation, issues that have long been of concern to the Treasure opposition.
"It's a much better solution," the mayor said on Tuesday, describing that a redone project would be a "complete redesign."
The announcement on Tuesday followed two closed-door meetings of the Park City Council that were believed to be focused on Treasure. It also was made the day before the Planning Commission is scheduled to continue the discussions about Treasure. The meeting is still scheduled, and Thomas and Beerman are expected to present the agreement to the panel.
City Hall will pay the Treasure partnership $6 million initially, likely in January. The sum is meant to reimburse the partnership for the costs amassed over the years. The $6 million is nonrefundable. If a ballot measure passes, the $6 million would be put toward the deal. If voters reject a ballot measure, the $6 million would be used to reduce the development by 10 percent.
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The mayor credited the executive director of the Park City Institute, Teri Orr, with initiating the discussions between City Hall and the Treasure side. There is a possibility the Park City Institute will have space in a redesigned project. Orr writes a weekly column for The Park Record.
Thomas acknowledged a $24 million ballot measure will be a "significant ask" of the community. He said, though, a ballot measure is a fair method to decide Treasure's fate.
Pat Sweeney, who represents his family in the Treasure discussions, said the measure would provide the voters a chance to decide the future of the project.
"It's an opportunity for the citizens to do something else if they want to," he said.
It is unclear what sort of response the agreement will elicit in the community. The opposition has repeatedly indicated it wanted a deal reached that would eliminate the prospects of development on the Treasure land. A reduction of 50 percent would leave open the possibility of a significant development nonetheless. Much of the opposition to Treasure has been concentrated in Old Town, leaving it unknown whether the wider community is worried enough about the project to approve a property-tax increase to fund the agreement.
The Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library.