Vail’s PCMR acquisition leaves City Hall with a $10 million question
Vail Resorts’ acquisition of Park City Mountain Resort leaves City Hall with a $10 million question.
Park City leaders in 2012 finalized a letter of intent with the former owners of PCMR to fund up to $10 million toward the cost of a transit hub, garage and related infrastructure at the resort.
To do so, the lifespan of a City Hall-controlled entity called the Lower Park Avenue Redevelopment Agency was extended from 2015 until 2030. The agency brings in money through tax increments, essentially most of the property taxes paid above the 1990 level on or in the vicinity of lower Park Avenue.
The partnership was outlined in a letter of intent between a City Hall-controlled redevelopment authority and the PCMR side. The letter of intent is not binding and it mentions it is a "precursor to a definitive" agreement.
PCMR at the time was planning to build an action sports camp on the lower parking lots that was to be called Woodward Park City. It was a major development, and PCMR wanted assistance with the transit hub and garage that was envisioned alongside Woodward Park City.
The four-page letter of intent outlines that the sides would work together on issues like parking, event parking, the location and size of a transit hub and housing at the site. The up-to-$10 million committed by the City Hall side was anticipated to fund between 20 percent and 25 percent of the overall cost.
The letter was signed by Diane Foster, who was the interim city manager at the time, for City Hall. John Cumming and Jenni Smith signed the letter for the PCMR side. Cumming is the CEO of Powdr Corp., the parent of PCMR prior to the sale to Vail Resorts. Smith was the president and general manager of PCMR. She resigned at the time of the sale.
One set of elected officials in Park City endorsed the letter of intent in 2012. Last spring, the current roster of elected officials endorsed it as well. Much of the discussion about the partnership was held as PCMR was entangled in a high-profile lawsuit against Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, the firm that owns most of the land underlying the resort. The lawsuit centered on the PCMR lease. It was settled with the Vail Resorts acquisition of PCMR.
It seems almost certain Vail Resorts will not pursue Woodward Park City since the Woodward action sports camps are part of the Powdr. Corp. family. A Vail Resorts spokesperson said this week the firm is reviewing agreements and the planning efforts that were underway at the time of the acquisition.
Jonathan Weidenhamer, who manages City Hall’s economic development programs and was heavily involved in the discussions about the up to $10 million, said in an interview Vail Resorts is focused on the operations of PCMR as the ski season approaches. He said talks with Vail Resorts about ideas for development on the PCMR parking lots could start as early as later in 2014.
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