Kimball Art Center redo: designs face Parkites on Friday | ParkRecord.com

Kimball Art Center redo: designs face Parkites on Friday

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

City Hall staffers on Friday are scheduled to review a developer’s plans to redo the Kimball Art Center and accept testimony about the project, giving the public its first chance to offer opinions in a formal setting.

It will be an important meeting as the municipal government prepares to determine whether the designs for the renovation and expansion of the historic property will be accepted or rejected.

The meeting is scheduled at 2 p.m. in the Park City Council chambers. Anya Grahn, the historic preservation planner at City Hall, and Planning Director Thomas Eddington are expected to accept the testimony. Staffers will not make a presentation about the project, as they typically do during Planning Commission meetings, but the developer’s plans for the Kimball Art Center will be available.

The meeting is part of the City Hall process as a determination is made whether a project meets the municipal government’s tight Old Town design guidelines.

The developer, California-based LCC Properties Group, plans to acquire the Kimball Art Center shortly. The firm has outlined an ambitious project involving the renovation of the Kimball Art Center building itself and the construction of a new building on what is now the patio at the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue.

The building now housing the Kimball Art Center would be turned into commercial space with an approximately 2,500-square-foot addition to the roof. The new building would have commercial space on the lower levels and residences on the upper floors. It would be connected to the old one in some fashion.

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In an interview, David Luber, the lead figure in LCC Properties Group, said he is looking forward to listening to the input from the public. He said the proposed development fits well on the Main Street streetscape. Luber said he has received "good support" from the public. Nobody has given him a negative comment.

"At the end of the day we as the developer would like to look at this project in the context of five years from now. If somebody arrives at that corner they would see the entire project as something that fits seamlessly into the entire area and would not know it as something that was a new project," Luber said.

The property occupies a high-profile location at the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue, heightening the importance of the design. Many, including Luber, see the corner as one of the crucial transition points between the historic stretch of Main Street uphill from the intersection and the newer portion of Main Street downhill from there.

City Hall staffers will have 45 days from Friday to determine whether the designs meet the Old Town guidelines. The 45-day review period oftentimes stops and restarts as staffers seek more information from a developer, meaning that it may take longer than 45 days for the staffers to make a determination.

The Planning Department by early in the week had not received written testimony about the designs.

Luber’s firm announced in December it had reached a deal to acquire the Kimball Art Center for an undisclosed price. The property had been on the market for $8 million. Luber recently said he anticipates the transaction will close in March.

The Kimball Art Center put the property on the market after City Hall rejected blueprints for an expansion onto the patio. A renowned Danish architect proposed an expansion with a modern design, prompting complaints in Park City that the design would radically change the historic streetscape of Main Street. It was the second design proposed by Bjarke Ingels Group. The Kimball Art Center did not pursue the first one after it received widespread criticism.

Kimball Art Center officials intend to move the not-for-profit organization. A new location has not been made public.