High-end Arizona developer also interested Bonanza Flats
August 9, 2016
As Park City leaders decide whether to ask voters to authorize a ballot measure in an attempt to acquire long-sought acreage in Bonanza Flats in a conservation deal, City Hall would apparently have competition for the land if it is put on the market.
A Park City official at a recent meeting indicated a development firm is also interested in the land. Tom Daley, a City Hall attorney who drafted reports about the potential of a Bonanza Flats acquisition, told Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council a firm called Discovery Land Company is in negotiations to acquire the acreage that City Hall also desires. The land is situated in Wasatch County off Guardsman Pass.
The land is under the ownership of a firm called Redus, LLC, an entity tied to Wells Fargo and Midtown Acquisitions. They were the lenders that brought a foreclosure case against the Talisker corporate family involving Bonanza Flats and other land in the area. Park City is considering putting a bond on the November ballot to raise $25 million that could be put toward the acquisition of Bonanza Flats should it become available.
There has been local attention in the last week on Discovery Land Company, but leaders have said little publicly about the firm. It seems that City Hall has limited knowledge of Discovery Land Company. In his comments to the mayor and City Council, Daley said officials did not have details about the discussions between Discovery Land Company and Redus, LLC.
Tim Henney, a member of the City Council, offered a few comments about Discovery Land Company, indicating during the meeting that he had visited one of the firm's island resorts. He called Baker's Bay in the Bahamas "extremely exclusive."
Henney said in an interview he did not stay at Baker's Bay and was rather there for a tour and a brief visit. He said a friend who works at the property arranged for him to visit. Henney declined to discuss his knowledge of Discovery Land Company in detail.
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"I have grave concern, as do all City Council, about development potential in Bonanza Flats," he said.
Discovery Land Company, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., did not immediately respond to a Monday email request for comment.
The Discovery Land Company website lists properties in disparate parts of the U.S. and Mexico. Some of the properties in the Intermountain West include the Yellowstone Club in Montana, Gozzer Ranch in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Iron Horse in Whitefish, Mont., and two places in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The mayor and City Council are scheduled to hold another discussion about the ballot measure on Thursday. The City Council is scheduled to cast a vote on whether to put a $25 million bond on the ballot in November. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers in the Marsac Building. A public hearing is scheduled.
A $25 million bond would be paid off over 15 years if a deal is reached for Bonanza Flats. City Hall would not issue the bonds if Park City is unable to purchase the land. City Hall estimates the owner of a primary residence valued at $810,000 would pay an additional $122.67 in property taxes annually if a bond passes and the land is acquired. The owner of a vacation home or commercial property valued at $810,000 would pay $223.05 per year.
Park City has for years had an interest in Bonanza Flats, a high-altitude swath of land coveted by developers and conservationists. The land, once owned by United Park City Mines, played a significant role in the discussions between that company and City Hall as the Empire Pass development was approved. At one point it seemed Bonanza Flats would be set aside from development, but the sides eventually reached an agreement that capped development there at 260 units. United Park City Mines envisioned Bonanza Flats as a golf-and-ski resort.
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