Park City submits application to develop arts and culture district with Sundance, Kimball Art Center

Park City plans to develop an arts and culture district along Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive. Officials recently submitted an application for the project involving buildings that would house the Kimball Art Center and the Utah offices of the Sundance Institute as well as residences and a transit node.
Courtesy of Lake Flato Architects

Park City recently submitted an application to develop an arts and culture district along Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive, triggering what is expected to be a closely watched process as leaders pursue a project that reimagines a key location in the community.

City Hall had essentially outlined the proposal publicly in recent months, but the submittal to the Park City Planning Department formalizes the concept. The application is anticipated to be put to the Park City Planning Commission shortly, but a timeline was not available early in the week.

The municipal government acquired a little more than 5 acres stretching outward from the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive with the intention of building the district. The $19.5 million acquisition brought land that had been owned by the Bonanza Park partnership into municipal ownership. City Hall, the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute are teaming on the project, which is designed to house a permanent location for the Kimball Art Center and the Utah offices of Sundance. The two are seen as the anchors of the district.

David Everitt, a deputy Park City manager and the staffer leading the efforts, said the proposal involves the buildings the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance offices would occupy. The locations would be sold to the two not-for-profit organizations later. The project also includes four buildings City Hall itself plans to develop.

The details include 50 residences, which City Hall proposes to operate as rental units. They are proposed to range in size from 400 square feet to 900 square feet and include studio apartments and what are described as micro-units. The residences are proposed to be part of the restricted workforce or otherwise affordable stock, meaning someone must qualify through their income. Everitt said approximately eight of the residences would be reserved for people involved in artist-in-residency programs in the district.

Some of the other highlights of the proposal include:

• approximately 12 co-op spaces that would be available to rent. The spaces would be unfinished.

• creative spaces like classrooms

• a food hall that would have an anchor tenant as well as a place for so-called emerging food purveyors that occupy the industry space between food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants.

• artist exhibition space

• event space, which Everitt likens to a jazz lounge

“It really brings together and puts into action a whole range of the city’s critical priorities,” Everitt said.

City Hall leaders see the district as something that will advance topics like housing, economic diversification and transit. The 50 residences would make the project among Park City’s largest workforce or otherwise affordable developments. The transit component, meanwhile, is designed to be a “major node,” Everitt said, indicating it will provide links to Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Old Town transit center. Leaders also argue the district will be a key step in diversifying the Park City economy from one that is heavily reliant on the ski industry. Everitt noted arts and culture is not dependent on the weather, as is the case with skiing.

The Planning Commission process could be challenging as the panel weighs a major proposal at a crucial location. The previous owner of the land encountered broad resistance as it pursued a development approval. There were concerns at that time about the height of the proposed buildings, the road network and other design issues. The Bonanza Park partnership that sold the land to City Hall made limited progress as it attempted to win a development approval prior to the transaction with the municipal government.

The Planning Commission will likely spend significant time addressing topics like the design of the buildings, the overall layout and traffic, some of the issues broached during talks about any major development proposal.

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