Members of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, local government officials and Olympians celebrated the grand opening of the Residences at Utah Olympic Park Thursday, a new affordable housing facility for athletes and staff.
Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation CEO Colin Hilton says, after a year of construction, he picked up the certificate of occupancy for the Residences at Utah Olympic Park at 5:05 p.m. last Friday. The building is already in use.
“We moved in tenants to our apartments over the weekend, and we are spending the rest of this month getting folks moved into the long-term apartments," Hilton said. "And we've got a ski and snowboard camp of 20 or 30 athletes coming in next weekend that are going to take full advantage of this.”
The four-story, 72-unit facility features both short-term hotel rooms, to accommodate visiting athletes and guests, and long-term apartments for athletes who have moved to Utah to train and for Utah Olympic Legacy staff. Hilton says there are 43 apartment units, where residents could expect to pay $450 per month in rent if they share the apartment, or $850 as a single tenant. There’s also common space for cooking and relaxing.
Summit County Council Chair Roger Armstrong spoke at the opening. He says the county council has made affordable housing a priority and commends the Olympic Legacy Foundation for working with Summit County to make the project happen.
“We were able to facilitate that with a municipal bond, and we did some open space trades to find a location that is buildable for you," Armstrong said. "This is a terrific facility, and you've executed it very well.”
Two-time Olympic medalist Shannon Bahrke related her experience as an athlete coming to train in Park City. She says she and 15 of her teammates couldn’t afford lodging in town, so they stayed in a one-bedroom condo in Salt Lake City and drove up to train at the Olympic Park every day. Bahrke says she and her teammates considered the experience a badge of honor, but the perspective on what athletes need to succeed has changed.
“Athletes need to be able to have downtime; to be able to increase their rest; to be able to cook a meal that they know is nutritional instead of going down to McDonald's and grabbing two cheeseburgers—I did that, it was terrible," Bahrke said. "I think this facility really speaks to that vision and giving the athletes the things that they really need. Besides just the most unbelievable training in the country and the world, it is to be able to have that time and that space.”
While the facility will mostly house athletes, Hilton says there are about 15 apartment units that are being held for up to 30 staff members. Hilton says he’s aware there’s already a large demand for the units, but it’s important to him for Utah Olympic Park employees to be part of the community in which they work.
“As people come into town, where the ski jumps have always been that great visual and reminder of our ongoing Olympic and Paralympic legacy," Hilton said. "We're going to see now that affordable housing, not only for the athletes but the staff of the Olympic Park, are a priority.”
Hilton says the Olympic Legacy Foundation is looking to build another housing project at the Utah Olympic Park in the next five years, with units that better accommodate families.