Five Signs this little mountain towns growth spurt isnt slowing down.

A snapshot of the latest and soon-to-come changes to the Park City landscape.
By Jane Gendron

1. QUICKSILVER

148Nothing says change in a ski town quite like a gondola. Not just any gondola. But a conveyance that serves as an exclamation point. Two resorts have become one.

The entity formerly known as Park City Mountain Resort is now just Park City — and operator Vail Resorts is folding neighboring Canyons into that unified brand. The duo’s combined 7,300 acres– thanks to Quicksilver gondola’s link from Silverlode to Flatiron (with an upload at Pine Cone Ridge) — makes this interconnected behemoth the largest resort in the nation.

In an official statement, the resort’s COO called the $50 million in capital improvements, “one of the most ambitious and impactful plans undertaken at any resort in industry history.”

The local takeaway: Uncertainty about this big fish swimming into our alpine pond on a wave of litigation may be tempered by relatively cheap season passes and double the skiing.

2. PARKYWOOD AND SUBURBIA

148bPark City Film Studios rolled out the red carpet this summer and rolled tape this fall, giving Park City a starring role in the new ABC series “Blood & Oil.” This Hollywood-esque project has had its fair share of drama over the past few years, including ongoing owner-developer legal wrangling. And while the talent trailers displace dump trucks, the construction at Quinn’s is just getting started. Nearby Park City Heights has approval for 239 building lots (including some affordable housing) and construction is underway on phase one of the five-year development flanking Hwy 248. Plus, on the other side of the highway, Park City Medical Center is in the throes of an 82,000 square-foot expansion. Of note: the city recently purchased 340 acres running alongside Hwy 40, just south of Quinn’s Junction; much of that acreage will be preserved as open space.

The local takeaway: No more evading traffic via Park City’s “back door” as Quinn’s gets populated. And if you think moving out to Silver Creek will bring pastoral escape, fogettaboutit! The county is on the hot seat with a colossal residential-commercial development coming online at the I-80, Hwy 40 interchange that will dwarf Park City Heights.

3. UPTOWN LIVING — and a little regular housing, too

High up on the mountainside, a massive crane marks the spot where 15 slope-side “new mountain contemporary homes” and 39 luxury condos (plus private restaurant, lounge and spa) are underway at the Stein Eriksen Residences — yes, the swanky digs fall under the umbrella of the five diamond-five star granddaddy of DV properties. In the hub of town, two chic new developments have also popped up: 820 Park Ave., which locals call the Rio Grande thanks to the small historic depot, which sat alone prior to becoming the renovated anchor of the 10-condo (plus office/retail space) property; and The Parkite at 333 Main Street, a luxury 15-residence property in the former mall space at the top of downtown’s thoroughfare. The city has a few still-in-design- phase projects, such as plans for a small, affordable housing project on Park Ave. (preservation of a pair of historic homes and construction of six additional one- and two- bedroom dwellings). Planners are also drafting an event space and public plaza/park adjacent to Wasatch Brew Pub. Think “festival- friendly” spot with non-event amenities, such as a splash pad or ice rink or some similarly fun attraction drawing folks to the plaza when official gatherings aren’t taking place.

The local takeaway: All this posh-ness and next thing you know Don Johnson will sidle up to the bar at the Alamo… oops, the No Name Saloon… errrr, whatever ABC’s script writers call it.

4. HARD HATS AND ABCS

A crystal ball might be handy for predicting the outcome of proposed school realignment and development plans, which span not just the city proper, but also the county. According to the superintendent of schools Dr. Ember Conley, “Park City faces immediate, significant facilities needs.” With 13% growth in the school district since 2006, packed elementary schools and a decrepit junior high building, the district is in the midst of planning — and lobbying for voter- approved $56 million bond — for sizeable construction. The plans involve new builds, demolition, renovation, grade realignment and creation of athletic facilities. Should the district and its supporters get the go-ahead nod, expect a field house on Kearns and a new building on the Ecker campus and a significant uptick in “Bob the Builder”-theme-song-humming kindergarteners.

The local takeaway: The powder keg combo of “our kids’ futures” and millions of taxpayer dollars means two guaranteed results: contention and portable classrooms.