What is the Park City Arts and Culture District?
As a new center for Park City’s creative economy, the District will be a place for local working artists, creatives, makers, students, and residents of all ages, to gather, create, collaborate, learn and discover. A partnership between Park City, Kimball Arts Center and the Sundance Institute will create a new center for an already thriving, creative community and will grow a more vibrant year-round economy.
How did the project come to be?
In 2017, Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council approved the purchase of a 5.24-acre parcel located at the corner of Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard. The City purchased the land to avoid a large "visitor-oriented" development and to ensure that the neighborhood maintained its focus on services for locals. This decision inspired a plan to create a world-class arts and culture experience for local artists, students, makers, and creatives. In late 2017, the City and its partners engaged consultants, Rob Woulfe and Duncan Webb, to conduct a detailed needs assessment to understand better how other arts and culture districts developed and performed and to develop preliminary concepts for governance, operations, communications, and activation.
What is the proposed funding for the project?
The preliminary funding plan includes local transit funding as a source for the transit portion, housing authority bonds as the source for affordable housing, and bonds serviced by the City’s 1% transient room tax to fund the city’s arts and culture portions of the project. Kimball Art Center and Sundance Institute will purchase their respective parcels from the city and will independently fund development and construction of their buildings. Proceeds from the sale of land will provide an additional funding source for the city’s portions of the project. Click here to see the proposed funding sources.
How has the public been involved in the project?
The Arts and Culture District has been an important topic of public discussion for several years. While the project took a bit of a hiatus in 2018-2019, the team began re-engaging the community and key stakeholder groups in early 2020 to generate input on initial building concepts, designs, and programming ideas. The team assembled a Design Committee comprised of artists, residents, and community leaders to meet over four weeks during the summer of 202 to provide input on the schematic design. There have also been a number of community presentations, news stories, zoom roundtables and public meetings to gather public input and comment. Click here to see our public engagement report.
How will the community be involved moving forward?
As the project moves into the master planned development review process, there will be multiple public meetings organized around various aspects of project design. There will also be future engagement with various non-profit arts groups regarding details of project components and programming.
When will construction begin?
Site prep and demolition has begun. If the project moves forward, construction is anticipated for fall 2021.
Who is the planning and design team for the project?
Lake Flato Architects and MHTN Architects are the project architects, and GTS Development Services is the project manager for Park City.
Who will operate and manage the project?
The project team is currently focusing on developing governance and operating agreements that will guide the day-to-day management of the Arts and Culture District. An owners’ association will be formed among the project partners to address management, maintenance, upkeep, and scheduling of shared facilities. Park City will continue to own the programmable spaces within its buildings and will develop a strategy for operating them in collaboration with the project partners and the local arts community to ensure that the District achieves goals for activation and accessibility.
Sundance Institute and Kimball Arts Center are not shown on the site map. Are they still involved?
Both Sundance Institute and Kimball Arts Center remain as committed and important partners in the Arts and Culture District, and plans are still in place for them to move their Utah headquarters to the District.
Will the District compete with Main Street businesses?
The Arts and Culture District is designed to be a complement to Main Street and will not serve as a commercial district. The new community amenity will be a multi-disciplinary space for local visual, media arts, performing arts, immersive learning, culinary arts, and community celebrations. District plans include a small amount of retail space; however, this area will serve as a cooperative space for local artists to create their work and not as a commercial gallery. The District will also have a food hall that will include small food stalls for emerging culinary entrepreneurs to launch their concepts and will contain a flexible event space that could offer cooking demonstrations, host small banquets, and serve overflow seating.
What is going to happen to Anaya’s Market?
Anaya's has indicated it will relocate to a new location. As the district develops, they may consider adding a new location closer to the project.
What will happen to the Recycling Center?
The City will relocate the Recycling Center to Quinn’s Junction.
What is the total projected soils mitigation cost, and does that cost include the parcels that will be sold to the arts partners, or are the partners assuming costs for mitigating their own soils?
Soils mitigation - which includes excavating the material and moving it to the management facility the City is constructing at the Gordo site - is built into the overall construction costs. The vast majority of the excavated area is for the parking structure, with a small portion expected for connections to the Partners’ properties. The cost is estimated to be $2.2 million.
How will the project mitigate traffic impacts?
Ensuring that the Arts and Culture District does not contribute to Park City’s traffic issues is a critical priority for Park City. The project team is proposing specific strategies to reduce the number of private automobile trips needed in and around the District. The three elements of the proposed strategy include: 1) Extending Munchkin Road to connect with Homestake Road and create a new roadway access to the site from Park Avenue that does not currently exist. 2)Prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle access to the District through the new east-west street connection that consists of a multi-use pathway and pedestrian amenities; 3) optimizing transit connections with direct access to the District from the new Quinn's Junction Park and Ride facility, and 4) Exploring innovative transit components that will act as a local connections for the area.
Is there a plan to create transportation connections between the district, resorts, and Main Street?
Currently some bus connections exist between these nodes. The District's planned improvements would increase the capacity for more transit vehicles to connect to the District, make all vehicular traffic flow better, and provide attractive indoor and outdoor space for people to wait for buses (including public restrooms and a to-go food sales).
Planned active transportation improvements will create safer links for pedestrians and cyclists in all directions by adding multi-use pathways along Munchkin and Kearns between Bonanza and Park Ave. with buffers from cars. There will also be improved crossings at major intersections like Bonanza and Kearns and across Bonanza near Munchkin Road.
How much parking will be included in the project?
The District will include an estimated 225 stalls of either underground or structured parking.
How many affordable housing units are in this project? How will rentals work?
There are 50 affordable housing units included in this project, including microunits, studios, one-and two-bedroom apartments. Some will serve as live-work artist studios. Units will be rented to residents who work in Park City and make 45% of Summit County’s area median income (AMI) with a minimum 6-month lease required.
How was the community engaged in the early phases of the project?
In 2017, Park City, along with consultant firm Webb Management Services, Inc., launched a public outreach effort to understand better the Park City community's needs and desires for an arts and culture district. The project team gathered information from one-on-one interviews, an online survey, and public meetings held throughout 2017. This early visioning and feedback suggested that the community wanted a multi-disciplinary space for visual, media, and performing arts, immersive learning, culinary experiences, and community celebrations. The public also indicated that the project should be accessible, augment existing programming, support students and the creative community, and be an authentic gathering place for locals. Finally, the community also wanted to ensure that the District would enhance the quality of life, promote Park City’s already thriving creative community, and grow a vibrant local non-snow economy.
How is COVID-19 affecting the project?
In the era of COVID-19, the City and its project planning team are moving forward cautiously and purposefully to create an amenity that brings value to our community while remaining conservative in projections and programming. Current planning and design for the project will allow for the District to be "shovel ready" in the late spring of 2021. Before that time, the City Council will determine if it is feasible to proceed with the project’s construction.
In what ways will the design be modified to accommodate modifications for a future pandemic? (i.e., social distancing, virtual learning, etc.)
The project will include design features to provide resilience during future pandemics including design for indoor-outdoor spaces, natural ventilation and outside air circulation, enhanced mechanical air filtration, and vertical (displacement) ventilation to minimize interior recirculation of air.
What are the plans for snow removal and storage within the District?
The Park City Public Works Department will manage snow removal in and around the District. With a staff of 20, snow removal crews can work 24 hours a day from November 1 through April 30 and use set standards and guidelines to ensure that excess snow on and around the site is stored safely and strategically.
How will the District meet the City’s sustainability goals?
Park City has a goal to be net-zero and run on 100% renewable electricity for all City-owned buildings and operations by 2022 and for the whole community by 2030. The Arts and Culture District supports this goal and aspires to be a net-zero carbon district. The project team is working with net-zero energy consultants to pursue sustainable design and operation using cost-effective measures to reduce energy usage through energy efficiency. Additionally, the project will use materials with a low carbon footprint and will work with the project partners to perform annual energy audits to ensure that the buildings are performing efficiently.
Four to six years ago when the Arts District project was originally established, was there an arts and culture community-wide survey that we can access/ use as a resource to understand the needs of this focus group back then and possibly today?
Yes. We call it the Webb Study, but it is officially the "Park City Cultural Facilities and District Feasibility Study" by Webb Management Services, published in December 2017. It can be found online here.
Can the Arts and Culture District be successful without the arts partners anchoring the project?
The City-owned facilities are designed to work in concert with the rest of the District as designed – to complement and enhance the offerings of the arts anchors – but can exist independently if the need arises.
We've heard a lot about art in the District, but what about the culture component?
The phrase "arts and culture" is used in a manner that intentionally doesn't strictly define what is to happen at this District; the project team uses the term "makers" as much as "artists" when thinking about what and who these facilities are for, meaning that this is a place for individuals to develop, practice, refine, and perhaps even market their craft, and in doing so reflect and manifest in the values and aesthetic of their community.
That craft could be something tangible – a unique piece of furniture, a painting, a clothing line, a spoken word recording – or it could be more ephemeral, like a one-time modern dance performance or an intricate ice sculpture. Culinary offerings are also a critically important component of culture, and the District will be a place where people can learn about, produce, and share food commercially and otherwise.
Will the Arts and Culture District help keep Sundance in Park City?
The Project partners all believe that co-locating benefits all involved and demonstrates a long-term commitment to the Park City community.
Will the Arts and Culture District impact surrounding businesses' ability to hire new employees?
Insomuch as there are some additional employment opportunities at the District, yes, but the addition of workforce housing at the District also means that area employees have more housing options close to their work.
What discussion has been had regarding the operation of the Arts and Culture District?
The project team has been researching how other arts districts are operated and programmed and is preparing an initial briefing for the project partners and the public. No decisions regarding operations and programming will be made without a thorough public process.
Why isn't the City exploring other options for the Bonanza Park property related to the City's Critical Community Priorities?
The District's proposed design and intent address the City's critical priorities by adding affordable housing units, prioritizing transit and pedestrian/bicycling infrastructure, and providing facilities for members of the Park City community that traditionally have had less access to municipal resources. The Arts and Culture District is public space for all residents and will be programmed to prioritize emerging artists and makers.
Why can't a private developer build affordable housing on this land?
A private developer may be able to partner with the City for the District's affordable housing component, depending on whether a phased approach is considered and if the financial approach of a private developer would accommodate the policy intent of the City Council.
Can you speak to the intent of the District and who it is intended to serve - Locals? Tourists? Both?
The District is for locals first and foremost – the people who live and work in the Park City area, but even more specifically for the residents nearest or in Bonanza Park. Visitors will of course, be welcome here, but the primary intent – and the way the District is programmed will reflect this intent – is for Parkites.
There was a plan for an amphitheater behind the post office several years ago that never came to fruition. Is there a plan for one here?
Yes. The proposed design includes a sloped lawn at the north end of the public plaza with room for performances, outdoor film screenings, or more casual uses.
Professional developers need/want to make a hearty profit - how will that keep with a local vibe accessible to all people, not just "high end" folks?
As proposed, this is not a for-profit development; the District's vision has always been to focus on the community's needs through ownership by the City and the partnering not-for-profit arts organizations. There will be opportunities for some small for-profit entities (a local artisan or food purveyor, for instance) to lease space from the City. Still, there is no intent to sell any of this District property to for-profit developers.
Besides Sundance Institute and Kimball Art Center has there been additional private investors interested in participation?
Several artists and local arts organizations have expressed interest in having a presence at the District, as have other non-profit organizations. Private developers have also contacted the project team about opportunities to build housing on site.
Why have Kimball and Sundance not at a minimum signed a contract with significant earnest money? What is the holdup beyond they are experiencing delays in their building fundraising?
As with any complex business transaction, there are multiple deal points that require negotiation, mutual resolution, and, ultimately, contractual agreements. Both organizations were engaged in that process with the City when COVID struck last year. Kimball has paid down the purchase price according to the 2017 Letter of Intent totaling over $500,000 to date through rental payments to the City.
As the scope and plan of finance for the City-owned portions of the project are finalized, these negotiations will resume.
When you were considering this project, how did you see this new district interfacing with Main Street? It seems some of the concern is that visitors will be breaking up their spending unless we think this will also draw additional visitors.
The District has always been envisioned as complementary to and supportive of Main Street businesses. There is plenty of room for traditional Main Street businesses and the kinds of activities envisioned for the District, which is already bordered on three sides by small-scale commercial development. The District will have some spaces for more locally-focused emerging creatives who may not have access to Main Street storefronts or restaurant spaces, along with education, training, and event space.
Ultimately, when discussing aggressive affordable housing plans, even incorporated in an "arts and culture" district, the question of affordable for whom must be answered. Many expensive projects and acquisitions are mounting up for all taxpayers.
The project as proposed, including the affordable housing component, does not require raising taxes for anyone. It is funded primarily through sales taxes. The City Council ultimately decides what the rental rates will be for the housing units (and therefore the level of subsidy), irrespective of costs to construct the units.
Is the best example of an Arts District that is a public/private partnership the Aspen Institute? If not what existing facility is the best example for us to study?
We believe this is a unique project given the collaboration between the anchor arts organizations and the City, the site location and configuration, and the vision for the District. That said, the policymakers and the project team have studied a number of other arts/culture/maker developments. Here are a few:
Many years ago, the tech park out at Kimball Junction was an attempt to broaden the economy…that did not work out. If either Kimball Arts or Sundance don't step up, could we face the same issue?
The City owns the entire District parcel at this time. If there was any need to change the use from what is proposed, the City would have the ability to do so.
If the City votes not to proceed with the Arts and Culture District as envisioned, to what possible higher use can it put this parcel to benefit the Park City community?
The project team believes the proposed District is the optimal combination of uses for this public land – it's "highest and best use" – based on the community's desire to create a place for locals, support local artists and arts organizations, and build better transportation infrastructure.
How does this fit in with our four critical priorities?
The District's proposed design and intent address the City's critical priorities by adding affordable housing units, prioritizing transit and pedestrian/bicycling infrastructure, and providing facilities for members of the Park City community that traditionally have had less access to municipal resources. The Arts and Culture District is a public space for all residents and will be programmed to prioritize emerging artists and makers.
We went through a comprehensive master cultural arts plan for Park City; I wonder if any is still relevant.
Yes, most definitely. See the Webb Study here for reference.
How does the City justify the Kimball Art Center aspect of the entire cost?
Kimball Art Center will pay for its own building and the land upon which it will be located. The City agreed in 2017 to build the housing and parking needed for the District as a whole because both provide a public benefit and add to the value of the District.
What is the ROI of renting out a $640k affordable housing unit? That cost seems astronomical without context on when that investment can be utilized to fund additional affordable housing projects.
The affordable housing units are likely to cost closer to $400-$450,000 per unit to build. The City will determine rental rates based on what income levels of the prospective occupants it decides to target. The goal has never been to break even on affordable housing development but instead to foster community and a sense of place.
The "future home of Kimball and Sundance HQ" was not addressed by the architect. Where will those facilities reside, and how will they be utilized? I was envisioned office space would be needed for their staff.
There are designated parcels of land for each of the partnering anchor arts organizations. They are in the process of designing their respective buildings using their own design firms.
Can we slow it down and start with the affordable housing, which it looks like we have the funding for. Then as we find more funding can we add on?
The City Council is exploring phasing options for the City-funded portions of the District.
What is the expected financial impact on tourism to the local economy? Will the Arts and Culture District be marketed a specific geography and target market?
As of now, there are no specific plans to market the District to visitors.
How do you plan to involve people with disabilities?
By ensuring that the District is designed at the outset for access by people of all abilities, and by evaluating any programming and activation decisions through the lens of those with different abilities to ensure access and prevent inadvertent exclusion.
...What is the connectivity vision of Prospector Square?
In the short term, improved pedestrian crossings on Bonanza Drive (i.e., raised crosswalks, pedestrian signals, signage, and street design changes) are planned to make that connection safer and more accessible. The City is studying more transformational options as well, such as a bridge or tunnel to connect the District to Prospector Square, the Rail Trail, and south to Old Town.