The rebirth of Bonanza Park: nearly 1 million square feet of new buildings |

The rebirth of Bonanza Park: nearly 1 million square feet of new buildings

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The key figure in Bonanza Park on Monday filed an application at City Hall to redevelop a large swath of properties, a broad set of ideas that would involve demolishing the buildings now standing and replacing them with a project that would remake the district.

Mark J. Fischer, who controls large tracts of land in the district, and Park City Mountain Resort, which also has holdings in Bonanza Park, submitted a joint application to the Planning Department. The application covers three locales spreading through 11 acres:

  • The Yard, situated off Kearns Boulevard, which is seen in the application as the spot with the most development.
  • Bonanza Kearns, described as a series of properties that are adjacent to each other on or close to the southwest corner of the Bonanza Drive-Kearns Boulevard intersection. Bonanza Kearns is envisioned as having the second most development under the application. Some of the businesses currently in buildings on the Bonanza Kearns properties include the Maverick gas station, the Buggy Bath car wash and the Park City Clinic.
  • The PCMR parcel, set at the southwest corner of the intersection of Bonanza Drive and Munchkin Road. The land is under consideration for the least amount of development of the three tracts of land. The resort uses the parcel for storage and employee parking, and there is a maintenance building on the land.

    "Our goal is to make it a win-win for the residents and visitors of Park City. That is clearly our goal," Fischer said.

    The application asks for approximately 940,000 square feet of development between the three pieces of land, a combination of residential properties, commercial spaces and institutional buildings like medical offices. The tenants in the existing buildings slated for demolition would be offered space in the new ones, Fischer said.

    The Bonanza Park district has long been seen as a place that is ripe for a major redevelopment like the one described in the application. There seemed to be momentum for a redo in the years prior to the onset of the recession, but a falling out between Fischer and a former business partner and then the failing economy hindered those efforts.

    Fischer anticipates the redevelopment could take between 15 and 20 years and occur in phases. He said none of the demolitions are projected to occur for at least four years, depending on the approval process with City Hall and the market demand.

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    The filing made at City Hall outlines a series of buildings on the three properties. Craig Elliott, the project’s architect, said two theories are under consideration for the design of the buildings. One would keep all the buildings approximately the same height, in the range of five stories tall. The other would involve a range of building heights, from perhaps three stories tall to 10 stories tall.

    City Hall staffers by the end of the week had started reviewing the submittal, but they had not yet delved into the details. The Park City Planning Commission must weigh the proposal against City Hall’s General Plan, an overarching document that guides growth in Park City. The panel could begin its discussions by the end of April. If the Planning Commission agrees the project ideas fit within the General Plan, the developers will be allowed to file a subsequent application for consideration by the panel later.

    Tom Eddington, the planning director at City Hall, said he anticipates there will be significant discussions about issues like the height of the proposed buildings and how they are designed. He expects there will also be talk about mass transit and the amount of open space that will be strewn throughout the development. The road network will likely also be heavily debated.

    "I think this provides an impetus for us to finalize our vision and plan for this area," Eddington said.

    The project would be the largest scale redevelopment inside Park City since the start of the skiing era in the 1960s. The city grew quickly in the decades since the arrival of the ski industry, primarily with the construction of new buildings in places where there was either nothing developed or rickety structures left from the silver-mining days.