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Summit County to vote on purchasing Skullcandy building from developer's subsidiary

Summit County would trade the existing park-and-ride (pictured) and Sheldon Richins Building for land just beyond the Skullcandy headquarters (left). It's asking a developer to expand the park-and-ride with thousands of spots, retail, a pedestrian overpass and potential gondola connection. A new county services building could go next to Skullcandy.
Connor Thomas
Summit County has previously asked to trade its existing park-and-ride (pictured) and Sheldon Richins Building with a developer for land just beyond the Skullcandy headquarters (left). Now, instead of building a building to replace the Richins, it may share the existing building with the audio equipment company.

The Summit County Council may vote to buy Skullcandy’s headquarters from a Dakota Pacific affiliate for more than $17 million Thursday.

Update: The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

The roughly 7-acre parcel in western Kimball Junction is owned by a subsidiary of Dakota Pacific Real Estate.

The company has been locked in public negotiations with county officials for four years about building housing on land surrounding Skullcandy’s headquarters, and recently those meetings went private into a subcommittee.

Dakota Pacific has applied to build housing on the land, despite the parties’ current development agreement only allowing tech offices.

On Wednesday [May 8] county officials said the Summit County Council will vote on purchasing the Skullcandy land and building at a meeting May 9.

The Skullcandy building could become part of a public-private partnership county officials and Dakota Pacific have discussed during negotiations.

The council has proposed swapping the Richins Building for a parcel immediately west of Skullcandy, expanding the Kimball Junction Transit Center and moving county services to a new building next to Skullcandy.

But now the council believes it may be cheaper to repurpose the existing Skullcandy, sharing it with the audio equipment manufacturer.

“Constructing a new building is not an easy undertaking in this environment,” County Councilmember Chris Robinson said at a press conference May 8. “There's a lot of hidden costs that wind up.”

Robinson points out how the county initially wanted to build a new county services building near the Home Depot at Silver Summit. But after High Valley Transit’s construction troubles nearby and the budget ballooned, officials elected to expand the existing Silver Summit Justice Center instead.

County officials say Dakota Pacific’s subsidiary listed Skullcandy together with two other buildings it owns near The Basin Recreation Fieldhouse in February.

County Manager Shayne Scott said they saw an opportunity to save taxpayers’ money.

“This came up naturally. And maybe the timing is perfect; maybe this is too soon,” he said. “But I think we're excited about the opportunity and working with Skullcandy in their immediate and long-term future—meeting their needs and the county's needs.”

The county inherits Skullcandy’s lease if it purchases the property, which officials say generates more than $1 million annually. The landlord covers certain maintenance costs, but there are rent escalations built into the agreement too.

County leadership has met with Skullcandy leadership about the deal. The audio equipment company does not use the entire building right now, and some employees work from home.

The price is $17.5 million, which officials want to fund by issuing bonds. They say they’ll pay off the bonds with revenues from existing sales taxes, and the county council does not intend to increase taxes or impose new ones to purchase this property.

Summit County is facing a budget shortfall next fiscal year, but Scott said the one-time Skullcandy purchase does not factor into the shortfall, which relates only to ongoing expenses.

The purchase is also separate from the subcommittee’s negotiations with Dakota Pacific, he and Robinson said. Robinson, who is on the subcommittee, reports it has only had one preliminary meeting so far.

The councilmember also said the $17.5 million will not finance development on the property, or offset the cost of affordable housing and other items on the council’s wishlist.

Officials say there are no plans to relocate the county seat from Coalville’s County Courthouse to the Skullcandy building.

Councilmembers will vote on the proposal Thursday, May 9, at 2:30 p.m. in the Sheldon Richins Building. Public comment will not be taken at the meeting but is always accepted over email.

Updated: May 9, 2024 at 3:08 PM MDT
This story was updated with the results of the vote.
Updated: May 8, 2024 at 5:42 PM MDT
This story was updated with additional information and comments from a press conference with County Manager Shayne Scott and Councilmember Chris Robinson.
Updated: May 8, 2024 at 12:29 PM MDT
This story was updated with additional information and comments from Summit County Manager Shayne Scott.
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