Recent articles and interviews have prompted me to try to organize some of my observations regarding the 600-unit spite hotel proposed to be developed just off of S.R. 248 at the east entrance to Park City – a proposed eyesore on this already overcrowded artery.
It was refreshing to read that former Representative Jim Hansen acknowledged in an article in the Deseret News on Jan. 7 that he secured this particular piece of land for the Air Force to build a hotel on in Park City partly out of spite, based on an alleged statement by an unidentified person. He also acknowledged that the issue was originally the result of a promise he made Hill Air Force Base due to a deal made for additional land for development at Snowbasin. It was interesting to find out what thought process Mr. Hansen used to come to some of his legislative decisions — spite and political promises made for the benefit of wealthy developers.
On Monday, Jan. 15, Brent Ferrin, who is representing the developer for the proposed spite hotel ,was interviewed on KPCW.
Mr. Ferrin indicated that it would not be economically justifiable to build the project at a lower density or if the land had to be paid for (although Park City has provided a detailed analysis to the contrary). He then went on to indicate that there would be tens of millions of surplus dollars above normal developer profit that would be ploughed back into the community (a new wing for the yet to be built hospital, additional programs for the NAC, etc.). It’s curious as to where these tens of millions of dollars will be coming from if it isn’t feasible to purchase land.
Mr. Ferrin also indicated that if they had to pay for land (like the parcels Park City is trying to put together at the base of The Canyons ski area), they might just as well do a regular development and sell the units at market value to the general public. He then went on to say that they would be selling the units at market value to the general public. Again, a curious set of statements.
Mr. Ferrin also suggested that it took Park City a year to come to the table with anything, when actually, Park City was at the table long before the RFQ issued by the Air Force got Mr. Ferrin to the table. Park City had been trying to help satisfy Air Force need, but not developer greed.
Mr. Ferrin also indicated that even if given land for free at the base of The Canyons ski area (a much more attractive and profitable site for both sales and rentals), he would not subject himself to the county’s development process, which would include the Land Management Code and building codes. He said they would build a good and safe product — just trust them. This statement applies to Park City’s codes as well.
Now, I can understand (but not agree with) a politician’s decision made out of spite and political promises. And I can understand a developer’s quest to maximize profits when given an opportunity like this. What I’m having a little problem understanding, is why an honorable institution like the U.S. Air Force is involving itself with these characters. If the project is built on the proposed Air Force-owned site, it is destined to become an economic and community disaster. The developer will be out of it, the unfortunate purchasers will be left holding the bag, and our military service personnel will not be well served.
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Judy Horwitz writes in a guest editorial that Summit County voters must continue to support a vital source of funding for the area’s arts and culture institutions.