Is there a Park City Harmons on the horizon?
Application seeks to remake a significant portion of Outlets Park City
The owners of Outlets Park City have applied to drastically reshape one wing of the outdoor mall, requesting to build a 60,000-square-foot Harmons grocery store in a stretch that is now home to a dozen outlets, including three shoe stores and a luggage retailer.
The grocery store would be the fourth in Kimball Junction and about the same size as the Smith’s market.
It would be within 600 feet of the Walmart grocery store, 1,100 feet of the Whole Foods Market, a half-mile of the Smith’s market and just under 2 miles from the large Fresh Market in Pinebrook.
The upscale grocer has 18 locations on the Wasatch Front and two in southwestern Utah, according to its website.
An attorney representing the Chicago-based group that owns Outlets Park City declined to comment on the proposal.
“The Outlets Park City is always looking at potential options to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” Justin Keys wrote in a prepared statement. “But at this juncture, we are not at a point where we can comment on particular changes.”
A public relations firm that has represented Harmons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Preliminary plans call for a 59,600-square-foot store at the southern end of the first horseshoe of outlet stores, according to an application Summit County received in late April.
It would apparently require demolishing the existing stores and rebuilding a large structure, county planners indicated.
The plans call for a new entranceway directly from Landmark Drive and a public transit stop in front of the store.
The process to actually build the large-scale grocery store appears to be more complicated than simply receiving a permit.
Community Development Director Pat Putt said the county would use the low-impact permit process for an application for a store to switch between other allowed uses, like if an existing store that sells tennis shoes wanted to become a coffee shop.
Low-impact permits are generally administered without public input.
“In this particular case, what they’re asking to do exceeds that low-impact threshold,” he said.
Summit County Planner Amir Caus said the Outlets’ owners initially applied for a low impact permit, but the county had refunded the application fee after determining a different approval path would be necessary.
The development agreement that governs the site has expired, Caus said, and the county determined the applicants would have to apply for a new agreement, which he said they have since done.
That opens up the approval process to county requirements that it provide affordable or workforce housing as well as dedicated open space.
The open space requirement, in particular, might prove challenging, Caus indicated, as the store would be going into an already existing development without much access to open land.
Plans indicate land west of the development would be held as open space, though planning commissioners have resisted arrangements where developers satisfy that requirement with items like grass in traffic islands or medians.
As for affordable housing, the county required the nearby Whole Foods development to build apartments above the grocery store for workforce housing. Putt has indicated that arrangement has proven successful and officials have sought to emulate it elsewhere.
Caus said he would evaluate the application in coming weeks and possibly bring it to the planning commission to receive preliminary guidance.
“A lot of moving parts on this one,” he said.
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