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Mayflower developers weigh revenue, military discount at primary hotel

An image presented in Thursday's MIDA Board meeting shows much of the site plan for the Mayflower Mountain Resort.
Extell Utah
An image presented in Thursday's MIDA Board meeting shows much of the site plan for the Mayflower Mountain Resort.

A hotel for active and former military members is at the heart of the Mayflower Mountain Resort development. As developers finalize the management of that hotel, discounts for military visitors is a sticking point.

At the ski resort under construction in Wasatch County near Deer Valley, the Moral Welfare Recreation Facility and Conference Center is a $420 million, 600,000-square-foot, 13-story, 387-room hotel.

When it opens, 100 rooms there will be reserved for military members and retirees — a major reason for Utah’s involvement in the project. The Air Force will also receive 1% of revenues from a special tax on the hotel's income.

The state board overseeing development is the Military Installation Development Authority, or MIDA. It has final say on matters such as a contract for how the hotel manages discounted rooms, which may vary during peak season.

MIDA Vice Chair Jerry Stevenson said in a board meeting Thursday that’s still the reason for the multi-billion-dollar development, which will also build hotels, houses, condos and commercial buildings not tied to the military.

“We started this to come up with a recreation facility that would take care of the needs of our military,” Stevenson said. “That was the basic premise everything we did here has been billed on, and we built everything else around that.”

The military discounts will correspond with rank, beginning at $112 a night and increasing to $155 for highest-ranking visitors.

Two clauses in the contract presented at Thursday’s MIDA board meeting exclude those discounts during peak ski season and during any Olympics in Utah. It defined peak occupancy periods as two weeks that include Christmas and New Year’s, the Sundance Film Festival, and the weekends of Presidents Day and Martin Luther King Day.

During those times, discounts for military members will be 20% to 30% of public rates, instead of fixed amounts.

That gave pause to some board members, who pointed out that cuts down on the chances for military travelers to take advantage of the full discount. MIDA Executive Director Paul Morris said the military agencies involved might agree to that, since it will mean more money goes to the Air Force.

“People are paying these very, very high prices,” Morris said. “The Air Force is always getting their 1% — there's no blackout on that. So, it was a balance of you want the discount of rooms, but they also were very interested in that 1% being maximized. And so I think this was the balance that was struck.”

The board voted to approve the discounts and changes for peak season on the condition that the Air Force signs off.

An opening date hasn’t been set for the hotel.

Developers hope skiing at the Mayflower will begin in the winter of 2024 and 2025.

Planners have said they’re seeking a ski lift operating agreement with Deer Valley before that happens.