Treasure deadline passes without an accord
City Hall and the Treasure partnership did not reach an accord by a Monday deadline, leaving the two sides without a signed agreement to continue negotiations centered on a major reworking of the project.
It had been expected that the two sides would not be able to reach an agreement by Monday. In the week before the deadline, there had been indications that there would be no major actions before Monday.
Park City leaders and the Treasure side in December set the Monday deadline for negotiations after the parties were not able to reach a deal for City Hall to buy the Treasure development rights in a conservation deal. The partnership set the price at nearly $93 million for a buyout.
The discussions between December and the middle of March dealt with a redesign that would shift some of the longstanding development rights to a slopeside spot uphill from the Park City Mountain Resort base area while keeping the rest of them at the Treasure site itself, located on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The discussions have been held in private and involved negotiating teams from City Hall and the partnership.
City Hall had said the negotiations could be broken off if a deal was not struck by the Monday deadline. If that was the case, the Treasure partnership would be expected to return to its talks with the Park City Planning Commission about the full development application, officials had said.
Jonathan Weidenhamer, who manages City Hall’s economic development programs and is assigned to the Treasure negotiations, said on Thursday the discussions will press ahead even after the deadline passed. He said the sides expect to agree to a series of next steps "fairly quickly."
Weidenhamer said he anticipates the Treasure side will agree to continue the discussions. He said City Hall and the partnership had been in contact in the days since the deadline. Weidenhamer did not discuss the nature of the contact, though.
An attorney who represents the Treasure partnership declined to discuss the matter this week, saying a public-relations firm has been retained to make public statements. A representative of the firm did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
The Treasure partnership consists of the Sweeney family and a New York City-based firm called Park City II, LLC. The Sweeney family won development rights at the Treasure site and on nearby land in the 1980s. Park City II, LLC in 2006 acquired a 50 percent stake in Treasure from the Sweeney family’s partners.
The Sweeney family spent several years in talks with the Park City Planning Commission about the Treasure proposal, encompassing upward of 1 million square feet of development. The Planning Commission had concerns about the project and there has been neighborhood opposition. The amount of traffic Treasure is expected to attract and the size of the buildings were some of the major issues.
A stalemate was eventually reached, leading to the talks about a conservation deal or a reworking of the project.
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.