Park City Developments Move Forward and Evolve Amid Economic Downturn

The rumble of concrete and dump trucks shuttling to and from worksites throughout Park City each summer isn’t talked about as frequently as the town’s pristine mountain air, singletrack trails and outdoor dining, but it’s an undeniable part of the summer soundtrack. With much of the world is bracing for a long recovery once the coronavirus pandemic is brought to heel—Park City officials are among those forecasting difficult months to come—some of us anticipated a brief respite as large-scale projects were delayed and reconsidered. Still, the perpetual churn of development in Park City continues amid a stalled economy with little certainty about how the future will unfold.

Few suitable development sites remain as decades of infill and conservation efforts have accounted for most land in the area. Four major projects—construction of the new Mayflower Mountain Resort on U.S. 40, development the Park City Mountain base area lots, development of Deer Valley’s Snow Park lots, and the creation of an Arts and Culture District near Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard—will dictate Park City’s landscape going forward, but economic turmoil threatens to alter how some of those may take shape.

Across from the Jordanelle Reservoir, construction is moving ahead on Mayflower Mountain Resort. Contractors have returned to the site to continue work on the Military Wellness and Recreations Hotel (MWR)—a centerpiece of the new development—a 1.2-million-gallon water tank, roads, retaining walls and the voluntary cleanup program, which will control erosion to the area during and after construction. Though construction has resumed, challenges remain including a shortage of lending capital and the lack of a long-term agreement between Deer Valley and Extell to allow joint skiing operations between the two resorts.

Back in town, PEG Companies, the Provo-based firm intending to purchase and develop the Park City Mountain base area lots, met with the Park City Planning Commission this week to outline the scope of their project. PEG is operating within the bounds of an existing approval from the 1990s, but significant debate over how the ambitious plan will impact traffic and surrounding neighborhoods remains, with the possibility an entirely new master plan will be deemed necessary. Public input is considered essential in the process and final decision, but the inability to hold in-person meetings is a hindrance. Planning Commission Meetings will be available on the City Hall Website for those who want to stay informed and be involved.

Meanwhile, Park City Council members Becca Gerber and Tim Henney suggested reassessing the feasibility of the current plan for the upcoming Park City Arts and Culture District. The expected dearth of tax revenue is a major obstacle to what is an enormous undertaking for the municipal government. Developing the Arts and Culture District is a major step towards diversifying a local economy that has been inextricably tied to the ski industry, which is likely to be increasingly important amid an ongoing pandemic. No decisions have been made yet, but what the project looks like after upcoming budget discussions will impact the look of town for years to come.

There’s no news on the development of the Snow Park lots at Deer Valley at this point, but it’s it’d be foolish to assume it won’t be impacted in some way by coronavirus and economic difficulties it’s created. Park City was experiencing an unprecedented boom before seemingly the whole world went bust. Projects that had been simmering for decades were put in motion, and despite speed bumps along the way they continue forward, albeit with a few tweaks.

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Tony Gill
Tony Gill
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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