PCMR development seen as leaving Resort Center businesses ‘orphaned’
Concerns expressed that project would damage the prospects of existing base area
The Park City Mountain Resort base area for decades has essentially been contained at the Resort Center, a place where people can book their lodging for a stay in Park City, eat at restaurants and enjoy an apres ski experience after a day on the slopes.
Even the construction of Marriott’s MountainSide years ago did not radically alter the common experience of skiers and snowboarders as they headed to or from the slopes.
There have been scattered concerns, though, expressed recently that a proposal for a major development on the land where the PCMR parking lots are currently located could be damaging to the Resort Center. The Park City Planning Department received at least two correspondences since the middle of January that, in part, express that sort of worry.
If there is a new development with commercial and lodging options similar in nature to those at the Resort Center, the thinking goes, skiers and snowboarders could be drawn there instead of continuing to frequent the aging core of the base area. The issue could be exacerbated, some argue, depending on the ultimate decisions regarding the primary transit center at the resort since buses headed to and from PCMR currently stop on the perimeter of the Resort Center.
Scott Pomfret, a Massachusetts resident who owns a unit at the Lodge at Mountain Village at the Resort Center, submitted one of the letters, using especially direct language in a section of the two-page Jan. 21 correspondence.
“Existing businesses, which have been part of and contributed to the Park City community, would be orphaned by efforts to move the transit center from its current location,” the letter from Pomfret, addressed to the Park City Planning Commission and a City Hall planner assigned to the proposal at PCMR, says. “These businesses are part of the draw of the resort base and to make them more difficult for visitors to access (because more distant) runs counter to the interests of businesses and visitors alike.”
Belinda Simile, identified as the president of a condominium association representing the Marsac Mill Manor and Silver Mill House properties at the base of PCMR, submitted a two-page correspondence on Jan. 18 to the Planning Commission and the City Hall planner that addressed the topic.
“In considering a new development at the resort base, great care must be taken so as not to diminish and impair the value and economic utility of the existing base,” the letter says. “The City must hold the developer accountable to take the appropriate steps to support and enhance that which is already developed.”
The correspondence from Simile says that can be accomplished, at least partly, “by not permitting resources and amenities to be removed from the existing base and relocated to the new base area to the detriment of the existing base.”
“Commercial and residential owners who have invested in properties at the existing base, from which both the City and community have benefitted, deserve to have their interests protected and their damages from the inevitable changes to the base area minimized,” the correspondence says.
Simile also says moving the transit center “would also siphon away much of the foot traffic to our retail owners to the benefit of the new retail owners. Further, our residential rental values would also suffer a diminution of value if close proximity to such an important amenity was lost.”
The Planning Commission typically focuses on core issues like traffic, the layout of buildings and building heights rather than the impact a development proposal could have on nearby businesses. The location of the transit center, as an example, seems to be an item more likely to be debated by the panel than the future prospects of businesses at the Resort Center. The correspondences, though, reflect there is broader concern about the proposal at PCMR than those expressed by others regarding the core issues.
A prominent property owner at the Resort Center in November indicated support for the proposed new development. Trent Davis, the president of two business entities that together own more than 40,000 square feet of commercial space at the Resort Center, said in a written statement to City Hall that the project would “create a long overdue upgrade to a 40 year old, outdated base area.”
The Planning Commission is months into its review of the proposal at PCMR. A Provo firm called PEG Companies earlier reached an agreement with PCMR owner Vail Resorts to acquire the parking lots for the project. There are development rights attached to the land dating to the 1990s. The proposal includes residences and commercial square footage. Large garages would be built to replace the parking lost to development. The deal between Vail Resorts and PEG Companies is not expected to be completed until after a decision is made regarding the development proposal.
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Some Parkites long for the 1990s. Others in Park City prefer the first decade of the 2000s, Mayor Andy Beerman found during interactive polling that was an element of his recent State of the City address.