Three years later, housing nears finish
Mountainlands Community Housing Trust expected to turn over keys to some of the units in its Deer Valley Drive affordable-housing complex on Friday, allowing people to move into the long-delayed project.
Friday morning, there was not much activity at the site, on the 500 block of the street, and it did not appear that anyone had started to move in.
Scott Loomis, the executive director of Mountainlands, said he expected that five of the units would be ready on Friday, all fronting Deer Valley Drive. He said six people plan to live in the five units that were scheduled to be finished first. Four of the first units are one-bedrooms and one is a two-bedroom.
The project, known as the Line Condominiums, encompasses 22 units — 20 condominiums and two small houses. Ten of the condos are one-bedrooms and the rest of the condos are two-bedrooms.
"For the people, it will be very exciting. For Mountainlands, we’re not done with it yet," Loomis said.
He said five more of the units will be ready next week and another six in the following week. He said all of them would be done by the end of August and he hoped that landscaping at the site would be finished by then as well.
He said the first five units are priced at between $117,000 and $173,900 and range in size from 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet.
The prices are substantially lower than market rates in the neighborhood but they are significantly higher than Mountainlands had hoped. Loomis said, originally, Mountainlands had wanted to price the units at about $70,000 for one-bedrooms and $130,000 for the large ones.
Loomis said Mountainlands is subsidizing about a combined $200,000 to the buyers.
Mountainlands spent about 50 percent more building the project that budgeted. It was originally forecast to cost about $2.1 million but the figure will be about $3 million, Loomis said.
The project encountered a series of delays and, as they mounted, the construction costs went up.
When Mountainlands broke ground in June 2003, Loomis predicted that construction would start the following month and the project would be done in January 2004.
Major construction started in May 2004, however, and then the project was repeatedly delayed, including a well-publicized and disputed stop-work order in fall 2004.
Mayor Dana Williams, an affordable-housing advocate who became frustrated with Mountainlands during the construction, said on Friday he is happy that people were scheduled to move in.
"I just think it’s fantastic. I’m thrilled for both the organization and the people moving in," he said, adding that the government learned the importance of discussions while a project is under construction.
He said, however, that he is discouraged that the prices rose steeply because of the delayed timeline and the increases in the cost of materials.
The project is among the most ambitious affordable-housing developments in Park City in a decade and comes as Park City’s real-estate market continues a post-Winter Olympic boom.
City Hall has seen itself for years as a chief supporter of affordable housing in Park City and recently issued a strongly worded statement in favor of such housing. The supporters argue that a community is better off if people of varying means can afford to live locally. They say that makes a community more diverse.
But the housing sometimes riles neighbors, who have argued that affordable housing can lower the values of surrounding properties and attract too many drivers. There was limited opposition from neighbors as Mountainlands won the City Hall permits needed to build the project.
Harvey LaPointe, a neighbor who was displeased with the delays, said he plans to welcome people living in the condominiums "with open arms." He said he was frustrated with the longer timeline but said that the builders did not trash the neighborhood.
"Anytime a new date turned up, they never met it," he said.
Loomis reported that two units remained available on Thursday — one is built for a disabled person. He said that a few people are interested but had not finalized deals. He said the units are restricted to singles who earn less than about $47,000 per year, couples who earn less than $55,000 each year and families earning less than $60,000 annually.
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