Sundance’s cast will include Kimball Art Center, even after a sale |

Sundance’s cast will include Kimball Art Center, even after a sale

By the time the opening credits roll for the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, an important festival venue could be under new ownership.

But the Kimball Art Center will almost certainly be part of the cast of next year’s festival regardless of the owner. The property, located on one corner of the high-profile intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue, has long been a venue for Sundance. During the festival, the Kimball Art Center is turned into the Sundance House. It is a spot where people can gather inside to talk about filmmaking and other topics of interest to festival-goers. There are also special events in the facility during Sundance, including panel discussions and workshops.

The Kimball Art Center, a not-for-profit, plans to sell the property. The art center pursued an ambitious expansion that envisioned developing what is now the patio, located steps off the intersection. City Hall rejected the designs, determining they would not fit on Main Street’s historic streetscape. The Kimball Art Center then put the property on the market with an asking price of $8 million. A California developer who has worked in Park City previously reached an agreement to acquire the property for an undisclosed price.

The deal has not yet closed, but one could be finalized well before the start of the festival next year. LCC Properties, the developer and prospective buyer, has filed paperwork at City Hall outlining an ambitious project at the site, dubbing the development the Kimball Residences & Shops.

The project would involve renovating the Kimball Art Center building into more than 13,000 square feet of shops on two levels. A new building would be constructed on the patio. It would offer 8,200 square feet of commercial space on two levels and three floors of residences. There would be 11 residences totaling 17,200 square feet.

Park City officials have not made a decision on the project. The developer has said construction could start as early as the summer with completion in late 2016. The timeline will depend on the City Hall approval process.

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David Luber, the leader of LCC Properties, said in an interview he wants to reach an agreement with Sundance organizers to keep the festival at the Kimball Art Center location.

"We are looking to have a continuing relationship of Sundance having a presence at the Kimball," Luber said.

Luber declined to discuss details, however.

Sundance organizers negotiate deals with property owners in Park City for festival leases. They have a series of agreements with private-sector owners, the public sector and not-for-profit organizations for festival setups like screening rooms and festival-related activities like the Filmmaker Lodge. Locations sometimes change from year to year, but some of the spots, such as the Kimball Art Center, are long-term venues.

Sundance has a contract to use the Kimball Art Center through the 2016 festival, according to organizers.

In prepared responses to Park Record questions, Tina Graham, the associate director of operations at Sundance, said the festival has occupied space at the Kimball Art Center "for many years" and organizers "value the long term collaboration we have."

"We could not put on the festival without generous local business owners and organizations who believe in what we do," Graham said.

She acknowledged the importance of the Kimball Art Center to the festival. Graham said organizers are focused on this year’s festival and have not discussed Sundance’s future at the Kimball Art Center. Those talks are expected soon, she said.

"Beyond the fact that the Kimball location is centralized and the space is convenient to use, we are lucky to work with the Kimball Art Center staff and we really value their collaboration," she said. "They have always been great supporters of the institute and flexible with the use of their space during the festival."