Park City readies to demolish buildings to prepare land for arts district
Officials say the ground should be cleared as major development decisions approach
City Hall within weeks could begin to demolish some of the buildings on the land where an arts and culture district is planned, a step that would be taken even as leaders are continuing to debate the details of what is envisioned as an especially ambitious municipal project.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council have held difficult talks in recent months about the plans for the district amid the economic uncertainty caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Key decisions remain in the overall talks. In any scenario regarding the future development of the land, though, the existing buildings would be razed. The elected officials at a recent meeting essentially gave the go-ahead to demolish the buildings even as they continue the discussions about the ultimate project.
City Hall staffers later in February plan to present a contract for the demolition work to the City Council. Officials have already sought proposals for the work. David Everitt, a deputy city manager, predicted the demolitions could start in early to mid-March should the City Council approve a contract.
The building that once housed a clinic, the building where the Kimball Art Center once was located and a building where several not-for-profit organizations once kept offices will be demolished. The buildings are along Kearns Boulevard or Bonanza Drive.
The district is envisioned as stretching inward from the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive.
The building just off the intersection that once housed a gas station would remain standing temporarily. The deputy city manager said that building could be used for construction offices or interactive art exhibition space related to the development of the district.
Everitt estimated the demolition work will take approximately one month.
“Even if there was a delay in construction, there would be interim uses for flat ground,” Everitt said about the demolition occurring amid the ongoing talks about the district.
He listed creating temporary park space on the land or providing an opportunity for food trucks as possibilities if the project was pushed back.
Park City acquired the land in a $19.5 million deal with the Bonanza Park partnership. The partnership had spent several years in talks with City Hall about a development before the discussions stalled amid concerns about a project at the location. An earlier set of Park City leaders negotiated the buyout with the intention of developing an arts district.
The talks about an arts district started long before the coronavirus struck at the municipal budget as well as impacting the finances of the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute, the two organizations envisioned from the start as the anchors of a district. The economic conditions have heavily influenced the most recent rounds of discussions at City Hall.
The plans also include space for artists, housing and transportation infrastructure. The City Hall portion of the project is estimated at $88.4 million. Some of that total would be recouped through the sale of land to the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute. Revenue would also be generated through leasing the workforce or otherwise affordable housing included in the project.
The upcoming demolition work will be especially notable since it will involve multiple buildings as part of the same undertaking. The work will also be highly visible with the buildings located just off two of Park City’s busiest streets.
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Daniel Lewis, an Old Town resident who unsuccessfully sought a spot on the Park City Council in 2019, said this week he will mount another campaign this year.