The Military Installation Development Authority has taken what was originally planned to be a 400-room hotel for military personnel R&R and turned it into a 6,000-acre luxury mountain resort with ski-in-ski-out home sites and at least four high-end hotels.
MIDA’s development of the Mayflower Mountain Resort is predicated on a legislative mechanism called tax increment financing. The Wasatch County mountain resort development overlooking the Jordanelle on the back side of Deer Valley, will have a 40-year finance stream allowing the developer to leverage bonds against future tax funds to build out the project.
Wasatch County Manager Mike Davis said the original Mayflower resort was not originally planned to include five luxury hotels, ski amenities and more than a thousand mountain homes.
Davis said the project is not within the control of the county authority due to the legislature delegating decision-making responsibility to MIDA.
“As the developer progressed with this, he wanted MIDA to be more in control than he wanted the county to be in control,” Davis said. “And it was a political battle between us, and it's not one we could win and so the whole Extel component of that went under the MIDA control and that's how it happened.”
With land-use controls switching to MIDA instead of Wasatch County elected officials, Davis said the county council has a seat on the development committee review board and the MIDA board.
“We’re trying to make that balance work now, but it is not quite what we envisioned when we first started, that's for sure,” he said.
Davis said that 25% of the tax increment will be disbursed over 40 years to support Wasatch County services, including the Wasatch County School District.
“That’s a lot of money, but it does come back somewhat to the county because we do receive by agreement all the municipal taxes that MIDA would collect so they can collect municipal taxes and they give those back to us,” he said. “And so that increment has to go towards the financing of public amenities. And so, the developer gets a portion of that, and then the rest of it goes into other projects such as the Jordan Parkway, infrastructure systems.”
Davis said the gamble is that more money is coming in now and the entities don’t have to wait 20 years while the development builds out.
“The 25% they’re going to receive is much, much higher than what they’re receiving now,” he said. “So it's a gamble of, by developing this, are we going to come out better for the next 20 years because we're receiving some of it?”