Park City sells Old Town house in no-bid deal
January 15, 2016
City Hall has reached a deal to sell an Old Town house it has owned since the 1990s, agreeing to sell the property after it received an unsolicited offer and without any sort of bidding process.
The Park City Council, acting as the governing body of a municipal entity known as the Redevelopment Agency, approved the deal in a unanimous vote. Nobody from the public provided input prior to the decision. The elected officials did not discuss the sale in any detail during the meeting. It is likely the detailed discussions were held in a closed-door session. State law allows a government to discuss real estate transactions in closed meetings.
The deal is pegged at $725,000. The transaction is expected to close on Feb. 1. The buyer is an individual named Matt Garretson.
The house is located at 664 Woodside Ave. City Hall acquired the house as part of a broader 1997 transaction that also included what at the time was known as the Watts house at 732 Park Ave. and the National Garage next door.
It was one of City Hall’s most notable real estate acquisitions aside from its purchases of open land for conservation purposes. City Hall later sold the Watts house and the National Garage to the figure who opened High West Distillery at the site, leaving the house at 664 Woodside Ave. under municipal ownership for nearly 20 years. It has not been occupied for at least 10 years, City Hall says.
A City Hall report submitted to Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council in anticipation of the Thursday meeting indicated City Hall had received offers and was prepared to sell the property in the spring of 2008 before the prospective buyer encountered difficulties in securing financing.
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The report said Garretson made an unsolicited offer for the house on Oct. 6. City Hall negotiated an easement meant to preserve the façade of the house, according to the report, which refers to the house as a "historically significant building."
City Hall had an appraisal of the house conducted in the spring of 2013, setting the value at $440,000. The report points to Old Town’s strong real estate market as it determines a current value of $590,000.
It also says City Hall would have needed to spend more than $500,000 on upgrades to the house if the municipal government wanted to rehabilitate the property, including putting in a new foundation, reconstructing the garage and redoing the roof. Heinrich Deters, the trails and open space manager for the municipal government and one of the staffers involved in the negotiations, told the elected officials on Thursday there was a potential for City Hall to redo the property for some sort of affordable housing purposes, but the cost was prohibitive.
Greg Miner, the real estate agent who represented the buyers, said the Garretson family lives in Cincinnati and plans to move to the property on a year-round basis. The Garretsons intend to redo the house, Miner said. He said the house’s proximity to Park City Mountain Resort’s Town Lift slopes is attractive.
The acquisition of the Watts property in 1997 cost City Hall $920,000. The municipal government sold the High West Distillery pieces of the property in 2007 for $1,435,000. The High West Distillery and Garretson transactions were priced at nearly $2.2 million combined, more than twice what City Hall paid in 1997.
City Hall says it was not required to perform a bidding process prior to selling the house at 664 Woodside Ave.