Treasure model: so that’s what the project will look like |

Treasure model: so that’s what the project will look like

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Sweeney family next week expects to unveil a detailed model of Treasure, a three-dimensional piece that the developers hope will be a key aid as they continue their long-running talks with City Hall about the proposal.

The model will appear amid what has become a rancorous debate about Treasure and the Wednesday Planning Commission meeting could become a crucial one if the developers are unable to make headway with the panel. Treasure is the only item on the Planning Commission’s regular agenda on Wednesday, meaning that both the Sweeneys and the panel likely expect a detailed discussion. A public hearing is also scheduled.

Pat Sweeney, who represents his family, said the model covers 16 square feet and provides a detailed look at the Treasure land and the surrounding neighborhood. According to Sweeney, it shows the Treasure hillside as well as Lowell Avenue, Empire Avenue, Woodside Avenue, Park Avenue and a section of lower Main Street. The proposed Treasure buildings have been put onto the model, he said.

"I still think it has some advantages over a computer model," Sweeney said, adding that it was "very expensive" to make.

Craig Elliott, a Park City-based architect involved with Treasure, is making the model.

The Treasure team is also updating computer-generated images that have been used during previous meetings about the development.

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It is anticipated that the Wednesday meeting will be heavily focused on the size of the Treasure buildings. The Planning Commission has spent some time already discussing the buildings themselves, with the Sweeneys having difficulty convincing both the panel and regular Parkites that the buildings will fit well onto the highly visible hillside.

The tallest of the buildings would reach to more than 100 feet and others would be close to that height. The Sweeneys contend that large portions of the buildings would not be visible from most vantages, diminishing the effects on the view of the hillside.

The project would be situated on a hillside overlooking Old Town close to streets like Empire Avenue and Lowell Avenue. People who live on those streets and elsewhere are worried about the project, saying it will attract too much traffic and overwhelm Old Town.

Sweeney said he expects a "broad range of responses" during the Wednesday meeting. Opponents have dominated previous hearings. Sweeney anticipates the testimony during the upcoming meeting will be "similar to the past."

Treasure would appear to be approximately 12 separate buildings, but they would be connected through an underground garage. The project would cover just more than 1 million square feet, with 200 hotel rooms, 100 condominiums and meeting space contemplated. Commercial space would also be built within Treasure.

The Sweeneys in the 1980s secured an overall approval for development at the site and on nearby land, but the family must now obtain additional permits before Treasure could be built. Some of the Treasure Planning Commission meetings have drawn significant crowds, mostly made of opponents.

The debut of the Sweeney side’s model will follow more than four months after a project critic brought a Lego creation to a Planning Commission meeting to stress her contention that Treasure does not fit well with the nearby streets.

Kyra Parkhurst said she will bring her Lego model on Wednesday if she is able to attend the meeting or she will give it to someone else to bring if she cannot be there. Parkhurst said she wants the Sweeney model to be true to the proportions of the development when compared to the neighborhood and Main Street.

"I guess we’ll be able to see how realistic it will be when we see it," Parkhurst said.

The chairman of the Planning Commission, Charlie Wintzer, said the panel is eager to have the Sweeney model in the room, saying it will be "really important." He said it is difficult to envision the scale of the project without such a model, adding that the computer-generated images that have been presented in the past are not as helpful.

"It will really, definitely show the public what it’s going to look like," Wintzer said.