After Initial Hesitation, Park City Council Approves Re-Phasing of Film Studio Plans
The owners of the Utah Film Studio at Quinn’s Junction were granted approval by city council to re-phase the project this week, allowing the construction of a hotel to be part of the next phase of the project.
The site of the Utah Film Studios on the east side of Park City was already the subject of a hard-fought approval process nine years ago when the original development agreement was approved in 2012.
The original plans were amended in 2013 and in addition to the studios, plans have been in place to construct a hotel, along with several other related buildings on the 30-acre parcel.
The construction was agreed to happen in phases, with the studios built first, then accessory buildings related to the studio operations, with an eventual hotel to be constructed later in the project.
The applicant, Quinn Capital Partners, requested to adjust the phasing to allow the hotel to be constructed next, instead of the other buildings. The applicant said the studio would benefit from the ability to house studio crews within walking distance during filming projects. After some initial reluctance from the council, the measure was passed 3-2.
Councilor Tim Henney voted to approve the request and told KPCW after his initial resistance to the idea, he recognized since the plans were negotiated and approved nearly a decade ago, there isn’t much the city can do to prevent the project from moving forward.
“The problem that we have with the film studio is we have an approved project and a master plan development that was a negotiated agreement,” explained Henney. “They’re allowed to build a hotel and last night was really about, you know, when do they build that hotel and are they changing something that was essential to the original intent of the development agreement? My determination, after a lot of process and a lot of discussion is that it wasn’t changing anything at a fundamental level. It was exactly what they’re allowed to do.”
It was clear the council was not very excited about a future hotel being built, Henney included. Councilors Nann Worel and Becca Gerber held out and voted against the request, but Henney added even if the council rejected the request, it would do little to prevent the construction from eventually happening.
“Could we have, you know, thrown a bit of a speed bump in the process by denying it? Yeah, but, you know, they would be able to get around that speed bump at some point and it wouldn’t take them too long, quite honestly,” he said. “I think Becca and Nann voted against it to show that we all do not want to approve a hotel, but we really had no other alternative.”
The film studio has a complicated history in Park City. The property has been embroiled in controversy, lawsuits, and an ownership transfer since the original approval in 2012. Councilor Steve Joyce described the deal eventually struck between the city and original developers, which included the annexation of the land into the city, as a “shotgun marriage.”
Quinn Capital Partners did approach the council last fall about a possible re-zone of some of the land for use in an affordable housing project. That request was eventually withdrawn but the door for discussions on the topic of affordable housing at the site of the film studio was left cracked open by the council on Thursday night.