Developers of controversial Newpark condos redesign project
February 8, 2019
The developers of a controversial condominium project in Newpark adjacent to the community amphitheater are planning to redesign it.
Developers Matthew and Ryan Crandall worked out a deal to purchase additional density from the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District to create a mixed-use project at the location that will include retail space and affordable housing. The site is located south of Maxwell's East Cost Eatery. The land was previously a parking lot and is mostly surrounded by businesses.
The redesign comes after the County Council upheld a disputed approval for a seven-unit, four-story residential building on the site. Opponents of the project claimed the building's proposed height and a lack of commercial space violated Newpark's development agreement.
But, the Crandalls are now proposing significant changes the project.
"We looked at every complaint people had: They didn't like that it was four stories, they didn't like the alleyway, they didn't like the private space on the bottom floor, and there were concerns about the development of the amphitheater," Crandall said. "We tried to create a new project and negotiate a deal."
The Crandalls agreed to purchase about 27,000 square feet of additional density from the recreation district for $300,000. The recreation district purchased a certain amount of density as part of the Newpark Development Agreement. But, after the third and final expansion of the nearby Basin Rec Fieldhouse in 2017, the organization doesn't need additional density.
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The footprint of the new project will be larger because it includes more square footage, but the area of disturbance will be smaller, said Justin Keyes, an attorney representing the Crandalls. He said the project will be three stories and will not encroach on the amphitheater.
Dave Thomas, Summit County's chief civil deputy attorney, said the purchase agreement requires the Crandalls to go through the process of amending the final site plan and present the plans to the Planning Commission again. If that doesn't happen, the agreement is void. County Councilors on Wednesday during a meeting were asked to approve the transaction.
County Councilor Chris Robinson suggested the Crandalls gift the amphitheater, the site of popular summer community concerts, to the recreation district as part of the agreement, a recommendation that was rebuked by the other elected officials. He then requested to table the item for a week to consult with the recreation district.
"I get that they made a deal, but part of our job is to pass judgment on the deal," he said. "I don't like that we are leaving its (amphitheater) fate undecided. It is a loose end and I think it would be beneficial to try and fix."
County Councilors Doug Clyde and Roger Armstrong said they were uncomfortable with Robinson's suggestion."We gave them approval to do something we found distasteful and they said, 'We would like to buy some additional density to contribute to affordable housing,'" Armstrong said. "Now we are saying, 'We like the affordable housing, we are confirming this to be a better design, but what else do you have in your pocket?' It just feels weird."
Thomas, speaking on behalf of the recreation district, said there was an expressed concern about the prospect of Basin Rec taking on the programming of that space and the liability of operating a working venue.
"The only reason why Basin Rec was willing to entertain this is because they thought you wanted them to entertain this," he said. "They were searching for a way to do that. But, they didn't want to discount their density they were selling."
Crandall said they were not willing to give the property away. He said rent is collected from it. He added, "Regardless of whether people want to accept it, that property has value and we want to be compensated for it."
"We didn't think there were any lose ends when we came here tonight," he said. "I didn't think the Basin Rec had a desire to operate it in the future. I really appreciate Mr. Clyde and Mr. Armstrong. We have worked really hard to be good stewards of the community. We already own one property the community hates. We have thrown away more than $300,000 in architectural planning, years of time and effort and headaches. But, we are here because we felt compelled to create a better project."
The County Council ultimately agreed to authorize the purchase agreement, 4-1, with Robinson dissenting. Kim Carson, Doug Clyde, Glenn Wright and Armstrong voted in favor of the deal.
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