Park City landowner wants to demolish utilitarian Iron Horse district for new project | ParkRecord.com
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Park City landowner wants to demolish utilitarian Iron Horse district for new project

Major development proposal emerges in important location close to City Hall-owned ground

The Iron Horse district has for years been a largely utilitarian swath of the community off Bonanza Drive. The landowner holds plans for a major redevelopment involving residences, retailers, offices and restaurants.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

A prominent Park City landowner this week outlined a major development proposal in a strategic location, a project that is envisioned as transforming a largely utilitarian swath of the community into a place with residences, retailers, offices and restaurants.

Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, LLC has long held land in the Iron Horse district just off Bonanza Drive. The district through that time has largely been seen as a place that provides everyday services alongside splashes of poshness. The approximately 3-acre tract on Iron Horse Drive, surrounded by an automotive shop, the Public Works Building and assorted other properties, has been seen for years as a likely location for significant redevelopment with the value of land increasing dramatically in Park City over time.

A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of a Park City Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday outlined the proposal, including:



• residential units totaling a combined 145,197 square feet. The number of units was not available early in the week.

• retail and office space totaling 4,304 square feet



• restaurant space totaling 2,992 square feet

An underground garage with 184 parking stalls is planned, the report says. The blueprints also call for angled parking spots on the street along Iron Horse Drive on the north side.

The project would involve the demolition of the 10 buildings currently on the land and then developing atop the cleared ground. The buildings on the land now are almost exclusively commercial with a small number of residences within them. They mostly house storage units with one of them being a framing shop.

“The property is simply too valuable for it to be storage centers. This would be the natural progression of any urban area,” said Rory Murphy, a development consultant tapped by Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, LLC.

Murphy is a veteran Park City developer who has had a key role in projects like Empire Pass in Deer Valley, Silver Star on the edge of Thaynes Canyon and Rio Grande in Old Town. Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, LLC involves the well-known Park City couple of Charlie Wintzer and Mary Wintzer.

The upcoming discussions by the Planning Commission could be closely watched by a broad audience of Parkites with the location of the Iron Horse district being so important. People who live or own residences close to the project borders, or who have other holdings there, will likely monitor the progress and weigh any impacts on their places. Interest along the wider Bonanza Drive corridor will likely be high as well since a major redevelopment like the one contemplated would be expected to have traffic impacts on a street that already is among the community’s busiest.

City Hall itself could also watch the talks since the municipal government is an important nearby landowner. The Public Works Building and grounds are adjacent to the project location. The City Hall-owned land where the development of an arts and culture district has been discussed is also close by. The future of the land where an arts district could be developed is unclear, though. The Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, LLC project will be reviewed independently from any development that City Hall would someday pursue on the municipal land, but there could be questions raised, particularly by the public, about the influence of the two projects on one another on an urban planning level.

The upcoming discussions will unfold after initial rounds of debate about the City Hall concept for an arts district and, potentially more noteworthy, in the years after a developer pursued an ambitious project that was known as Bonanza Park on the ground the municipal government ultimately acquired for the arts district.

The debate about the Bonanza Park development proposal prior to the City Hall acquisition of the acreage pitted the landowner against people who lived or owned properties in the vicinity of the ground. The project entailed the demolition of existing buildings followed by plans for the construction of residences, commercial properties and office buildings. The land encompassed a patchwork of properties along Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard. There was resistance to the overall concept of the development and worries about traffic increases as the dispute stretched for several years before ending with the 2017 acquisition by City Hall.

Many of the critics of the Bonanza Park development proposal were especially displeased with the building heights outlined at the time, with the tallest buildings designed at one point to climb to five stories. The opponents worried buildings that tall would loom over the surroundings.

Murphy said the Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, LLC project will not seek variances to the height restrictions set by City Hall zoning rules at the location or the required parking spots there. He also said the project will not seek variances to setbacks, or the space between buildings and property lines.

The Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and be held virtually as the municipal government continues to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. The agenda and more information about attending virtually is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org. The direct link to the meeting agenda is: granicus_production_attachments.s3.amazonaws.com/parkcity/3b10a01be6c4b311280366db01ecbd020.pdf.

The Wintzer-Wolfe Properties, LLC project remained on the Planning Commission agenda early in the week, but the landowner wants the discussions to be delayed for an unspecified period. It was not clear whether the Planning Commission will discuss the project at the meeting on Wednesday based on the desire for a delay by the landowner.


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