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Slopeside . . . and affordable

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A developer plans to sell 10 workforce housing units steps from a Park City Mountain Resort lift, a prime location that could set off a frenzy as people who otherwise could not afford to buy so close to the slopes vie for the chance to live in the swanky Silver Star project.

Rory Murphy, the lead Silver Star developer, says the 10 units, all one-bedrooms and about 700 square feet each, will be housed in one building. The location is about 100 feet from the Silver Star lift.

The units are priced at between $148,000 and $193,000, based on their location in the building. Regularly priced units in Silver Star start at $1 million, and the range for the workforce housing is well below the market rate for slopeside property. Murphy says the units, if they were sold on the open market, would fetch a minimum of $500,000.

"There already is a mad rush," Murphy says. "I think that affordable housing in general is hard to come by, particularly stuff that’s adjacent to the resorts."

He expects lots of competition for the units, and the developers have already received widespread interest without lots of publicity. Rhoda Stauffer, who is coordinating the workforce housing for Silver Star, reports 80 people have signed up to compete for the units, but nobody has submitted a formal application.

People must qualify through their income, and their household income cannot exceed $78,419. The developers devised the figure based on a federal housing equation that relies on an area’s median income.

The developers will randomly select people to buy the units. Murphy says their names will be put into a bucket and the buyers will be picked from the bucket. Three, though, must go to people who work at Silver Star.

People agree to live in the unit, and they cannot put it into a rental pool. They also cannot own other residential property elsewhere. Prospective buyers must have worked inside the Park City limits for two consecutive years.

Murphy touts the units as being the best quality workforce housing ever built in Park City. He says the finishes, like the appliances, countertops, floors and doors, will be impressive.

"We wanted to do something exceptional in that regard. We chose to do this because nobody else does," Murphy says.

Silver Star sits on the western edge of Thaynes Canyon on the fringes of PCMR. It spreads over 20 acres, with the lift in the center of the development. The developers have long billed the project as an arts-and-skiing campus steeped in history. The project was built on a long-shuttered silver-mining site, and the developers renovated mining-era buildings that were left. Sundance Film Festival organizers keep their Utah offices in one of the old buildings, and a separate arts program operates at Silver Star.

"I think the location alone makes this unique," Murphy says about the workforce housing.

Workforce housing for years has perplexed Park City officials, who require big developers build the housing based on the size of a project. Some developers balk about constructing the housing at the project site, however, preferring to locate the units well off the premises.

Still, City Hall and others say Park City is better off if people of varying economic means live locally. That adds diversity and cuts commuter traffic, the supporters say.

Slopeside housing: anyone interested?

What:

The Silver Star developers plan two open houses to explain how people can sign up for a chance to purchase a workforce housing unit.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Where: The Silver Star sales office, 1825 Three Kings Drive

Contact: Rhoda Stauffer, who coordinates Silver Star’s workforce housing program. Her number is 658-1573

Why: Silver Star has 10 units of workforce housing available to people who qualify financially. The demand for the slopeside units is expected to be great.


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