PCMR-Talisker lawsuit creates uncertainty in the Park City economy
Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC will be the ones in a courtroom deciding the future of the resort.
But the impact of the lawsuit filed by PCMR in state court last week will almost certainly stretch beyond the slopes. The case centers on PCMR’s right to occupy the acreage where the resort is located. It involves a claim by the PCMR side that Talisker Land Holdings, LLC has taken a position that an agreement allowing PCMR to operate on the land has expired, putting the resort’s future in jeopardy. PCMR has said it could be forced to shut down if its side does not prevail.
The resort stretches from the Town Lift runs funneling into Old Town, to the Resort Center and into Silver Star on the edge of Thaynes Canyon. Businesses in each spot rely heavily on PCMR customers. There are restaurants, ski shops, drinking establishments and souvenir stores catering to the PCMR crowd. There is significant real estate at or close to the resort as well.
The lawsuit comes toward the end of the ski season, and the resort said last week it will operate as normal through the rest of the season and through the coming summer season. It is not certain what could happen later, though. Talisker Land Holdings, LLC said it has not contemplated or threatened the resort with closure. The firm took ownership of the land in the last decade. It was previously under the ownership of United Park City Mines.
The developer of Silver Star acknowledged there is concern, however. Rory Murphy, who led the development team at the project, said he did not have prior knowledge of the lawsuit. He said he is worried about the uncertainty created by the case.
"Hopefully we continue business as usual," Murphy said, adding, "I don’t know enough about either party’s position to pass judgment on this issue."
Silver Star encompasses 98 condominiums sold at market rates as well as work force units and commercial space. The 98 condominiums have been sold and people started moving into Silver Star in late 2007. Murphy said Silver Star installed a ski lift linking it to PCMR and entered into a contract with the resort to operate and maintain the lift.
"Obviously if the resort shuts down, that would be pretty impactful," Murphy said, hoping that PCMR and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC resolve the case.
The Sweeney family also has significant interests that rest on the future of the resort. The family owns the Town Lift Plaza at the bottom of PCMR’s Town Lift and is a partner in the Treasure acreage along the route of the Town Lift. The Treasure partnership has been in long-running talks with City Hall about developing a slopeside project at the site.
Mike Sweeney, who represents his family, said there is concern about lower Main Street’s success against the backdrop of the lawsuit. He said the future of lower Main Street the stretch of street north of Heber Avenue is tied to PCMR. Sweeney said PCMR is also a major figure in Park City’s overall resort economy as well.
"We haven’t had a chance to sit down and analyze what it means to the family. We’re in the sticker-shock phase," he said.
Sweeney also did not have prior knowledge of the lawsuit.
"We’re now sitting in limbo waiting to see what happens. I don’t like it. That’s life in the big city," Sweeney said. "The uncertainty is going to have an impact in the marketplace for some time, and it isn’t going to be a positive impact."
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