City Council candidate has millions in Park City real estate holdings
September 27, 2013
The commercial properties in the Iron Horse district, sitting along streets like Iron Horse Drive, have never held the same pizzazz as places on Main Street or at the mountain resorts.
There are some shops and a restaurant, but the district has long been seen as being one of Park City’s more utilitarian areas. The properties, though, taken together, represent one of the most valuable blocs of real estate under single ownership in Park City.
The owner is a firm called Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, and one of the key figures is Mary Wintzer. She is now seeking a spot on the Park City Council, campaigning on a diverse platform that includes maintaining the ambiance that brought Parkites to Park City.
There have only been sporadic mentions of Wintzer’s real estate holdings since the campaign started last summer. It is highly unusual, though, for a City Council candidate to have such expansive interests inside Park City.
The firm in 2012 held properties with a combined taxable assessed value of a little more than $14.3 million, according to a report City Hall released earlier in the year detailing the top property-tax payers in Park City. Wintzer-Wolfe Properties ranked No. 9 on the list, accounting for .22 percent of the overall taxable assessed value in Park City.
The City Hall report shows the Wintzer-Wolfe Properties holdings performed well over the past 10 years. The value rose from a little more than $10.4 million in 2003, at the time .32 percent of the overall taxable assessed value. The taxable assessed value increased 37.8 percent over the period between 2003 and 2012.
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According to Wintzer, the firm’s holdings are spread over 22 commercial spaces in the Iron Horse district as well as three apartments that are rented at below market rates. A mini-storage facility is also under the umbrella of Wintzer-Wolfe Properties. The firm owns approximately 120,000 square feet of leasable space between the properties. Wintzer said another upward of 300,000 square feet could be built without the ownership needing to seek an involved City Hall approval known as a master planned development.
Wintzer and her husband, Park City Planning Commissioner Charlie Wintzer, have a 50 percent stake in Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, she said, meaning that the couple’s share of the properties would be valued at a little more than $7.1 million. The Wintzers are the general partners, meaning they oversee the day-to-day operations of the properties.
Wintzer said in an interview the couple has had an ownership stake for 30 years and built the commercial buildings over 20 years starting in the mid-1980s. Wintzer said the firm does not presently plan to further develop the eight acres of land.
"It’s been built out to our satisfaction," Wintzer said.
She said Wintzer-Wolfe Properties could make improvements to the buildings now standing as well as further landscaping the property.
The Iron Horse district houses a diverse list of businesses, including a restaurant, an automotive shop, a guitar store and a commercial laundry operation. It has long been a popular place for businesses seeking lower rents than those paid along Main Street. The buildings have appeared to have solid tenant interest over the years.
The Wintzer-Wolfe Properties holdings sit close to some of the land under the control of Mark J. Fischer, the lead Bonanza Park developer. Fischer has ambitious ideas to remake his patchwork of properties into a hip new area of residences, retailers and restaurants. He has been in talks with City Hall since prior to the recession about Bonanza Park, and it seems that the major redevelopment of his properties would not start for at least a few years.
There are ongoing discussions, broad in nature, about the sorts of development that will be allowed in Bonanza Park in the likely scenario of City Hall redoing the rules in that area. The Wintzer-Wolfe Properties holdings would be subject to the redone rules. The Bonanza Park developer, not Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, has lobbied for changes. Wintzer has been critical of some of the ideas for Bonanza Park. She would almost certainly be prohibited from participating in the discussions or casting a vote based on City Hall’s conflict-of-interest rules if she was elected.
"It’s on record that as a citizen and as a property owner I have spoken out for lesser development" in Bonanza Park she said, noting that she is concerned about the height of buildings in the Iron Horse district and Bonanza Park.
She acknowledges that changes in City Hall’s development rules sought for Bonanza Park would apply to the Wintzer-Wolfe Properties holdings as well. If Wintzer-Wolfe Properties sells the holdings, the new owner would be able to pursue development under the redone rules. Wintzer said her family’s stake in the firm is not on the market and the family has no plans to sell its 50 percent.
"This has been my career as a small business owner for the last 25 years, developing the shopping district," she said.
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