The Yard: Park City’s new event center?
The Yard off Kearns Blvd. will stay as it is for now. The owner’s view: if something’s not broke, why fix it?
Village at the Yard, the combination of boutiques, showrooms, bistro, club and concert venue that has occupied the space during Sundance has rescheduled for this year and the next.
Mark Fischer, owner of the former Anderson Lumber yard, said he feels fortunate to have the five-acre lot rented out in January because it pays nearly all of the site’s expenses for the entire year. That opens it up for most of the other 11 months for non-profit use.
"That’s why I can afford to leave it sitting there," Fischer said. "The theme emerging is for it to be a special events center."
That’s the theme for the next three to five years anyway.
Fischer is seeking approval from the city to tear down the existing structures to make way for a multi-level, multi-use space with a parking garage underneath restaurants and condominiums on top. That plan is merely a piece of his long-term North Of Main District plan (NoMa).
But he’s in no rush. He doesn’t believe in rushing.
"You end up with a better project if you’re not in a hurry. Good things come if you’re patient," he said.
The chain-link fence and aging façade will remain for several more years, but he has no shortage of groups interested in the large, heated areas inside with nearly unlimited parking space available.
The Peoples’ Health Clinic is stationed there until its own building is complete, and he’s made it available to myriad other groups including the high school for a senior party, Mountain Town Stages and Young Riders.
"It’s been wonderful for us," said Mike Andrews, co-chair of the clinic. "Having space available to us allowed us to expand our services and see an increasing number of patients."
In January, the clinic will have to temporarily move out and shut down when the Village takes over. Equipment will be placed in storage, and then moved back immediately after the Sundance Film Festival is over. The clinic’s new building at Quinn’s Junction should be complete by fall of next year, he said.
A lot of balls are up in the air with the city right now, one being the conditional use permit to make The Yard a year-round event center. Once approved, Fischer expects two or three events a month.
The previous permit only allowed for three events total, explained Jonathan Weidenhamer, special project and economic development coordinator.
The planning office will review the current permit application.
Weidenhamer said he’s excited for an event center in that location, but that the planning board will consider issues such as the frequency of certain events, such as flea markets, to preserve the image and reputation of the community.
The planning office will review potential impacts on parking and neighborhood noise levels as well.
Patricia Abdullah, analyst for the Park City planning office, said the application is still in the early stages of consideration and that the time-frame is indefinite.
Weidenhamer said he’s also grateful for Fischer’s consideration of the surrounding community while he waits for his larger plans to move forward. Any use of the space besides letting it sit and grow weeds is beneficial to the area, he said.
"I feel fortunate to own this wonderful piece of real estate and I’m fortunate to have this Sundance contract take care of most of the annual cost so I can open up the space to any legitimate non-profit," Fischer said.
When everything is worked out to turn the five-acre space into the multi-use property, Fischer said he’ll then focus on redeveloping the rest of his property between Bonanza, Kearns Blvd. and Park Blvd.
He expects the plan to take some time, and he said he’s OK with that.
"What’s best for the community is ultimately best for me," he said. "It will be well thought out because we’ve got one shot at this, and it’s got to be world class."
1251 Kearns Blvd.
Non-profits seeking to schedule use of the facility can call Fischer directly at 640-6858
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