Townhouse project sought on rare piece of vacant Main Street land |

Townhouse project sought on rare piece of vacant Main Street land

A developer with a portfolio of Main Street properties has filed paperwork at City Hall seeking an approval to build a townhouse building on one of the few remaining vacant parcels of land fronting the street.

The parcel, at 205 Main St., is owned by Ken Abdalla. He amassed a patchwork of properties along Main Street as the economy struggled and has plans to redevelop or reinvigorate his holdings. The parcel sits between the Imperial Hotel building, which is also under Abdalla’s ownership, and the building that houses Grappa restaurant.

The Park City Planning Department is reviewing the application. The developer envisions a four-story building with six townhouses. The Planning Department said the townhouses would range in size from 867 square feet to 1,728 square feet. The proposal does not call for commercial square footage.

"Ken Abdalla is a big believer in the future of Main Street," said Joe Wrona, an attorney who represents Abdalla, adding, "This is the natural progression of Ken’s vision for that upper end of Main Street."

Wrona said he hopes the necessary City Hall approvals are secured within 30 to 60 days. Work could start as early as late in the fall, depending on the weather, he said.

The Planning Department has started its review of the proposal. Staffers are able to approve or reject the project without bringing it to a public body like the Planning Commission or Historic Preservation Board.

The staff-level decision could be appealed to the Historic Preservation Board, a panel that holds some authority in Old Town building designs.

The Planning Department expects to send notices describing the project to nearby property owners soliciting input, something that is standard procedure for City Hall reviews of applications like the one at 205 Main St.

Mathew Evans, the City Hall planner assigned to the project, said a decision could be made by late October. He said the Planning Department has requested minor changes to the design be made before an approval is granted.

"Overall, it likely is going to be an approved project fairly quick," Evans said.

The movement on the parcel at 205 Main St. comes as Abdalla is progressing on the redevelopment of the historic building where the Imperial Hotel once operated. The Imperial Hotel building will have commercial space on the Main Street level, office space on the second floor and a condominium on the third and fourth floors.

Highlights of Abdalla’s Main Street portfolio include 205 Main St., the Imperial Hotel building, the Sky Lodge and the Silver Queen Hotel. He quickly became one of the key players on Main Street as he acquired the properties in quick succession.

Wrona said the plans at 205 Main St. will boost the street by adding residential square footage. The Main Street core has several large residential properties, such as the Sky Lodge, the Caledonian and the Treasure Mountain Inn, but some have called for more.

If there were more people staying on or close to Main Street, business along the street would perk up, the argument holds. The Sweeney family has repeatedly made that claim during the long-running discussions about the Treasure development proposal on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort along the route of the Town Lift.

"That’s going to be part of what keeps Main Street the heartbeat of Park City," Wrona said about the mix of commercial and residential properties.

The 205 Main St. application is another signal of a pickup in development in the Main Street core after a slowdown during the recession. There were a few buildings on Main Street that sat empty as the downturn wore on, a rare sight since the late 1980s.

Projects being pursued not related to Abdalla include one at 820 Park Ave., where a small historic building and a parking lot sit, the expansion of the Kimball Art Center and the redevelopment of the Claim Jumper building.

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