Park City will force tenants out of affordable Prospector dwellings
A City Hall acquisition of 23 condominiums in Prospector in the spring will force people out of their rentals as officials prepare the places for future tenants from the municipal ranks.
The units, 2015 Prospector Ave., had been under the control of the Talisker corporate umbrella and were used to satisfy some of the work force or otherwise affordable housing requirements stemming from the agreement with City Hall outlining the Empire Pass development.
Park City acquired the units after the Talisker side defaulted on a loan. City Hall paid $1,150,000 to the lender, H&B Partners, LLC, to acquire the loan and block a trustee’s sale of the units by the lender.
Restrictions attached to the units designating them as affordable would have been lost had they been sold in a trustee’s sale by the lender. Park City officials did not want to lose a bloc of units in the affordable pool.
Most of the units — 21 out of the 23 — are occupied by renters. City Hall, though, intends to house bus drivers in the units since funding from transit monies was used for the acquisition. Jason Glidden, the housing development manager at City Hall, said the majority of the tenants were living there on a month-to-month basis or had leases that expire by the end of June.
Glidden said City Hall must remodel the units to prepare them for the bus drivers. He said the municipal government would like to open the remodeled units to bus drivers for at least part of the 2018-2019 ski season.
City Hall has told the tenants they must vacate the units by Nov. 1. Glidden said officials are easing the transition by providing notice six months in advance, prorating monthly rent if someone moves out in the middle of a month and agreeing to return the full amount of a security deposit regardless of the condition of the units when someone moves out. He said officials could waive a required 30-day notice of moving out as well.
Glidden said the units were built in 1978 and “need some love.” There is lots of wear and tear, he said. The work is expected to cost between $10,000 and $20,000 per unit as they are readied for new tenants.
Park City has long attempted to offer an attractive compensation package to bus drivers. Housing has been seen as one of the top inducements City Hall could offer them. The Prospector Avenue places will complement other units the municipal government has to offer to bus drivers.
One of the people who lives in a Prospector Avenue unit is unhappy with the situation. Jeff Brueningsen, a lodging industry employee, has lived there for 12 years and will be impacted by the City Hall acquisition. He said there is a potential he will become homeless.
“It makes me physically sick. They’ve aged me in the last two weeks 10 years,” he said.
Brueningsen said he will fight the move in some fashion, saying there is a chance he will file a lawsuit against City Hall claiming the municipal government has broken the restrictions attached to the units. City Hall is confident in the legality of the move, though.
“It’s the absolute worst I’ve seen in the 23 years I’ve lived here,” Brueningsen said, describing the City Hall move as “hateful and heartless.”
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The Park City lodging industry in recent weeks experienced an uptick in projected occupancy numbers during the dates of the Sundance Film Festival, but the figures remain depressed from a typical year during the largest special event on the city’s calendar.