Winter Olympics 2030: Will Park City win development gold? (analysis)
This is the last in a three-article package looking back on an era of extraordinary growth and development in Park City. In the other articles, The Park Record introduces the question of who, precisely, won some of the greatest development battles over the last two decades, then attempts to answer it.
Park City landowners could compete for development gold should the International Olympic Committee award a Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City.
The United States Olympic Committee in mid-December selected the state capital as the country’s bid city for a future Winter Games. The USOC is focused on the event in 2030. It appears the International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the Olympics of 2030 in 2023, leaving four-plus years before a host is named and more than 11 years before opening ceremonies in February of 2030.
Two major developments that would be expected to have broad ramifications for the local Olympic footprint could proceed in the years before 2030. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort hold decades-old development rights attached to their primary parking lots. PCMR and Deer Valley are identified as important competition venues as part of the Olympic bid.
The PCMR development rights involve the Resort Center lots while the Deer Valley rights cover the lots outside Snow Park Lodge. Each of the projects is expected to include residences, commercial square footage and large parking garages designed to replace the spots in the lots that will be built upon.
PCMR owner Vail Resorts in 2017 took an early but important step, starting a search for a developer, as it considers a project. It is not clear what sort of timeline the owner of Deer Valley, Alterra Mountain Company, will pursue for the Snow Park Lodge lots.
Neither of the projects would be designed or developed exclusively for an Olympics, but both of them would be incorporated into the planning for an event. They could offer well-situated lodging for members of the Olympic family or general spectators, and the Olympic organizers would likely be interested in utilizing the parking and transportation infrastructure that would be built as part of the developments.
Each of the firms, or other entities if the parcels are sold, could conceivably secure the additional City Hall approvals needed before a groundbreaking and then complete the developments or portions of them prior to the start of the Olympics of 2030. The Olympics could offer a showcase for what would almost certainly be highly desirable real estate at the bases of two top-tier mountain resorts.
Other landowners in Park City could also see opportunity in a looming Olympics as they consider the timing of smaller projects. They may want to develop lodging or commercial buildings along a schedule that ensures the projects are completed prior to the Games, something that would leave open the possibility of lucrative Olympic-related deals.
There appears to be at least scattered concern in Park City that a second Olympics could usher in another period of concentrated growth as the community prepares for the event. But Mayor Andy Beerman, who represents City Hall in the Olympic discussions, in February said Park City was poised for growth in the years before the 2002 Winter Olympics and those Games acted as an “accelerant.” By 2030, he said in February, most of the development anticipated inside Park City could be completed.
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Park City Mountain Resort said it plans to open for the ski season as scheduled despite the area experiencing a spell of dry weather and warm daytime temperatures.