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Worker housing loan OK’d

A development firm recently won a loan from City Hall to help put up a work force housing project in Old Town, a crucial deal as the developer prepares for more talks with the Park City government about the project.

The Park City Council, acting in its role as the city’s Redevelopment Agency, approved a $1,650,000 loan to Elliott Development. Craig Elliott, a Park City architect, runs the development firm.

Elliott is interested in building a work force development on land it owns on the 1300 block of Woodside Avenue, near the senior-citizens center and Old Town fire station. The firm bought the land in February for $1,650,000, Elliott said in a June letter to Park City Manager Tom Bakaly.

The loan initially carries a variable interest rate of 8 percent, which would be adjusted each quarter depending on what City Hall’s investment pool earns. Once Elliott receives an approval for a work force housing development, the interest rate would fall to 3.55 percent.

The term is 18 months with an option of two six-month extensions. The deal also provides City Hall with "preferential options" regarding a development, such as the right of first refusal on the units, according to a report submitted to the elected officials beforehand.

City Hall has previously supplied loans to work force housing developments like Aspen Villas, Holiday Village and the Line Condominiums, according to the report. It is rare, however, for a private-sector figure like Elliott to pursue a work force development that is not tied to a larger project sold at market prices.

The local government owns the senior-citizens center land and the nearby property where the Park Avenue fire station once operated. There is talk of the prospects of cooperation between City Hall, Elliott’s firm and neighboring land owners to develop the immediate area.

Those discussions have not commenced in detail, however. There was a mention during the recent meeting of involving officials from nearby Park City Mountain Resort in the discussions.

A nearby property owner told the elected officials a development should fit well into the neighborhood. Nobody else testified at the recent meeting. More testimony is expected once Elliott starts talks with the city’s Planning Commission about the project’s details. Elliott had not filed an application for the development by early in the week.

Elliott has said in a previous interview with The Park Record he is "looking for the type of project I want to do personally in my town," describing his interest in putting up work force housing. That sort of housing is typically not as lucrative for developers as market-priced units.

The loan approval was expected, and it continues what city leaders have long said is their commitment to work force housing. They say Park City is better off if people of varying economic means live locally. Benefits, they say, include more economic diversity and reduced commuter traffic.

Elliott designed the Line Condominiums on Deer Valley Drive, and City Hall hired him to design the proposed Snow Creek Cottages on Park Avenue, another work force project.


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