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Four Developers Vying to Build Mixed Income Housing on Homestake Lot

Michelle Deininger

Toward the goal of increasing affordable housing in town by 800 units by 2026, the city is narrowing down a list of candidates for a public-private development partnership. 

Park City Municipal asked interested developers to submit applications last month to build 75-100 rental units on what is currently a parking lot at 1875 Homestake Road in Prospector. The lot is behind The Boneyard and Recycle Utah, adjacent to the planned arts and culture district.

Jason Glidden, Housing Development Manager for Park City Municipal, said he expected to get about four applications. The Request For Qualifications, or RFQ, process is involved, requiring applicants to demonstrate experience building and operating mixed income housing and redevelopment projects, and working with governments on development partnerships.

Glidden said he was pleased to get nine applications from a mix of local and national developers.

“I was going to be very happy with we got five. So that's why I was very excited to see that we had nine. So that shows me that there's definitely excitement and willingness from the private sector to partner with the city.”

He’s not sharing applicants’ names yet, saying privacy protects the integrity of the selection process and avoids outside people trying to influence decisions. He said the complete list of developers who sought the contract will be made public after one is chosen.

The Homestake RFQ says the lot is 1.8 acres and that its developer must assess its soil, then haul away or cap any that are contaminated, which is standard practice as redevelopment occurs on land containing residue from the city’s mining era. The developer will also handle communication with neighbors and community associations, and will finance the entire project.

After the May 21 submission deadline, Glidden and a review committee ruled out five applicants, and are now interviewing four finalists. The review committee of seven is comprised of city staff and private citizens with relevant professional experience.

A decision should come in about two weeks, after which the city will begin drafting an official development agreement with the chosen bidder. That agreement will contain design, construction and financing details, and eventually go to the City Council for approval.

Many aspects of the project will be variable – including how many units the finished product will include, precisely how many will be affordable or attainable, and what rents will be charged.

Proposals do need to fit within the parameters the city laid out in its RFQ document. The most significant of those is the requirement that 80% of the units be affordable, which the developer will calculate using Area Median Income, or AMI, statistics.

"That’s what, you know, we've decided we needed was average AMI rentals at 60%," Glidden said. "And one of our preferences was to see deeper discounted units. You know, it's a balance between trying to get some of the affordability that we really need and trying to make it pencil financially and then we think we have a good balance but until we really test this and see how it works out, we'll be learning as we go."

Within the 80% of units classified as affordable, a developer will offer a range of rents. Those must average out to be affordable for people earning 60% of the county’s Area Median Income. Currently in Summit County, AMI for a single person is $85,000, and $95,000 for a four-member household. Those numbers come from Mountainlands Community Housing Trust.

Glidden said that the other 20% of the units could be a mix of attainable and market rate, or all market rate. The project can also include a small amount of commercial space for something like a coffee shop.

The RFQ outlines minimum requirements, including an efficient parking strategy for tenants and a site plan that fosters walkability and connection to other areas of that neighborhood. A separate list of elements that are preferred but not required for the project includes compliance with the city’s Net Zero energy goals.

Crafting a development agreement with the winning bidder will take weeks. The project is likely a year or more away from breaking ground, and then might take a year or so to build.