Park City starts preliminary tasks on Old Town worker housing
City Hall recently began work on a housing project in Old Town, starting the preliminary tasks before the first significant snowfall of the season and on a schedule that calls for the units to be ready for occupancy as early as the summer.
Construction fencing now surrounds the site, which is located at 1450 Park Ave. and 1460 Park Ave., along a well-traveled section of lower Park Avenue. The fence went up in the middle of the month, signaling that City Hall-hired crews are readying for the development. The Park City Council in early October authorized a contract valued at approximately $2.2 million for the work. North Ridge Construction won the contract.
The project is seen as an important step as City Hall pursues an aggressive housing program along the lower Park Avenue corridor. The municipal government amassed a patchwork of properties on lower Park Avenue or nearby streets and intends to build restricted housing of some sort on the parcels. The project at 1450 Park Ave. and 1460 Park Ave. is the first to commence.
City Hall earlier secured a permit from the Park City Planning Commission for the project. It will entail six new houses and the rehabilitation of two old houses already at the site. The initial work this fall will involve the stabilization of the two old houses followed by their temporary relocation to another place on the parcel. That will allow the crews to build footings and foundations for the two houses. The houses – each measuring between 700 square feet and 800 square feet — are expected to be moved onto the new footings and foundations this fall. City Hall anticipates the crews will begin the new houses in November.
The municipal government will build six new houses on the land – five two-bedrooms and one three-bedroom. The two-bedroom houses are designed at approximately 1,150 square feet while the three-bedroom house will be upward of 1,250 square feet.
Rhoda Stauffer, the affordable housing program manager for City Hall, said the houses are expected to be ready for sale in the summer. She said an application process for prospective buyers is anticipated in the spring. Prices have not been set. The Park City Council will eventually set the prices based on income levels the elected officials want to serve with the units. Prospective buyers will be required to qualify through a detailed application process that will rely heavily on a person’s financial situation.
Park City leaders have long seen work force or other categories of restricted housing as important municipal government goals. They have argued for years that City Hall’s housing program is beneficial to the wider community by ensuring socioeconomic diversity and reducing commuter traffic. Many rank-and-file Park City workers have been priced out of Park City’s resort driven real estate market.
The project at 1450 Park Ave. and 1460 Park Ave. will be the first for-sale units developed by City Hall since the Snow Creek Cottages — 13 houses close to the Park Avenue police station — were finished in 2010. It will also be the first to break ground as leaders consider an aggressive housing program encompassing other municipal land in the vicinity of the 1400 block of Park Avenue, such as the Park Avenue parcel where a fire station once was located and vacant parcels of land on the 1300 block of Woodside Avenue.
City Hall acquired the land at 1450 Park Ave. and 1460 Park Ave. in 2009 for $750,000. Officials at one time intended to sell the land to a group that wanted to build an unorthodox development, known as a cohousing project. That deal was never finalized amid financing issues. City Hall later opted to develop the land itself.
Officials anticipate recouping much of the cost of the construction through the sale of the houses. There will likely be considerable buyer interest in the project given the Old Town location and proximity to the mountain resorts as well as shopping, dining and entertainment.
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