New Resorts Are Going Up In Park City
Park City appears to be doubling down on its ski town status. Despite climate trends that bode ill for the snowsports industry, big things are afoot in the area, with billions in development either in process or planned.
A new resort arrives
Most notably, a brand-new resort will transform the hills overlooking the Jordanelle reservoir. On the opposite side of the same mountain that hosts Deer Valley, the Mayflower resort will cover nearly 6,000 acres—almost three times the size of Deer Valley—and contain the world’s largest ski beach. (What’s a ski beach, you ask? An oxymoron, etymologically-speaking. But they’ll have the biggest.)
Mayflower “could have up to 1,560 residential units, 800 hotel rooms, 95,000 square feet of workforce housing, and 250,000 square feet of commercial space,” per Salt Lake Tribune reportage, though the project has its share of controversy. On the plus side, it functions as a recreational military facility, with 100 rooms reserved for military members to use at a discount.
However, critics argue that the hills west of Jordanelle are ill-suited for skiing; the highest peak tops out below 8,000 feet (compared to Snowbird’s 11,000 or even a respectable 10,000 for the Canyons). And as anyone who drives Highway 40 regularly is aware, the hills don’t exactly accumulate snow; they often have bare patches and thin coverage when other areas boast accumulated snowpack in the double digits.
Doug Smith, director at the Wasatch County Planning Council, acknowledges that the resort “may have to make a lot of its own snow,” but thinks the issue of ski-ability is someone else’s problem to solve. “Wasatch County controls the east side of Highway 40”—the Jordanelle side, in other words—”but the west side is under MIDA jurisdiction,” Smith explains.
The Military Installation Development Authority, or MIDA, emerged in 2007. It’s a strange hybrid of government, private sector, and military, defined in UT Code § 63H-1-201 (2012) as “an independent… body,” with the stated purpose of facilitating “the development of military land in a project area.” In the same code, it’s also labeled “a political subdivision of the state,” and yet again as “a public corporation.”
Paul Morris, MIDA’s executive director, sums the organization up as “a state entity that works on military projects.” Whatever it is, MIDA’s now running point on one of the biggest recreational developments in the country.
As KCPW previously reported, the role of MIDA in the Mayflower project started much smaller. To understand, we need to jump almost two decades back, when the 2002 Olympics were on our slopes. The military owned a small hotel on the Snowbasin resort near Ogden, where Hill Air Force Base officers got a bit of R&R. Labeled Hill Haus, “it had to go to make room for the Olympics,” recalls Morris.
The military, and with its subsequent birth, MIDA, needed another site. MIDA controlled a small parcel near Highway 40 and planned to build a military hotel there—a more expansive replacement for Hill Haus. The project has obviously expanded far beyond a hotel, and MIDA’s current role seems that of coordinator.
“MIDA doesn’t actually have the staff to manage the project,” Morris explains. “We’re more the land-use authority.”
To bring the resort to fruition, MIDA has contracted Extell Corporation, a New York-based firm specializing in large, urban projects.
The St. Regis expands
Of smaller (but still significant) scope than the Mayflower, the St. Regis Deer Valley will soon launch a major renovation and expansion. A Marriott International property, the St. Regis hotel is Park City’s most iconic resort, offering ski-chalet styling and five-star luxury.
The St. Regis claims “the most luxurious amenities of any mountain resort in the world” with “the only funicular at a North American resort,” fine dining, a 13,000-bottle wine vault, a 14,000 square-foot spa, and much more. (By the way, a “funicular” is a counterbalanced railway system, perfect for steep mountainsides and especially popular in Europe, that has two cars in tandem; when one ascends the other descends and vice versa.)
Currently, the St. Regis offers both hotel and private residence accommodations. Among its 174 guest rooms are 68 condominiums and 25 private residences. Now, with the planned expansion, St. Regis will welcome The Residences at The St. Regis Deer Valley | Snow Park (hereafter, “the Residences”).
There will be nine individual residences in the Residences. Prices are expected to range from just under $3 million to nearly $7 million. On the lower end of that range are your two-bedroom dwellings. Each Residence will have three or more fireplaces and a heated balcony. Throw in dedicated underground parking, complimentary transportation service, and access to an on-site member lounge and terrace, plus the Deer Crest Club, and you could almost make a go of it in a pinch.
Beyond the Residences, St Regis will roll out “a new dining concept,” update its lobby, fitness center, and common rooms. It’s a pretty thorough makeover.
The Pendry is coming soon
Earlier this year, Pendry Hotels and Resorts broke ground on its Pendry Park City project, slated to open winter 2021 in the Canyons Village. Pendry Park City will have 152 guestrooms and suites―condos too. Restaurants, spa, and a fitness center round out the package.
While I don’t know the budget for the Pendry Park City development, the developer secured “$165 million in construction financing,” Connect Media reported in June. So, it’s not minuscule.
Obviously, developers are bullish on the future of Park City as a magnet for outdoor adventure. Let’s cross our fingers for plenty of snow in the years to come.