October 2, 2018

Wasatch County approves major development tied to Deer Valley

By: Jay Hamburger
Wasatch County leaders recently approved plans for a major development envisioned to someday become an eastern portal of Deer Valley Resort, a project seen as a possibility for decades and one that, in sheer numbers, is audacious even in an area where the resort industry continues to boom.

The Wasatch County Council in late August approved an overall plan for the land known as Mayflower. The 940 acres are located on the Deer Valley side of U.S. 40 south of the Mayflower exit, stretching from close to the Jordanelle Reservoir to the slopes. Significant development has long been contemplated at the location, but the prospects became more likely with the 2017 sale of the land to a New York City firm called Extell Development Company. Two firms under the corporate umbrella of Netherlands-based Stichting Mayflower sold the land.

The Wasatch County approval involved:

• 1,498 equivalent residential units, allowing a mixture of houses, hotel rooms and condominiums. The precise breakdown will not be known until detailed plans are presented.

• 410 hotel units

• a hotel that will be developed for the benefit of members of the military

• 250,000 square feet of commercial or retail space

• a 68,000-square-foot recreation center

• 95,000 square feet of housing for the workforce

The project also calls for an expansion of Deer Valley skiing infrastructure. The resort says six new lifts are planned as part of the project, which is anticipated to expand the skiing terrain by approximately 900 acres. The terrain is expected to include upward of 200 acres of runs with the remainder planned as glade skiing.

Wasatch County sees the project, referred to in county planning documents as Mayflower Mountain Resort, as another Deer Valley base area. It is designed as a resort village, the documents say.

“This is the largest project we’ve had to date and most likely the largest we’ll ever have,” said Doug Smith, the planning director in Wasatch County.

Smith said it could take up to 40 years for the development to be fully constructed. He said detailed designs will be reviewed later. The design calls for nearly two-thirds of the land to be set aside as open space.

Smith said Mayflower Mountain Resort will be designed to be pedestrian friendly and with transit options. The Planning Commission in Wasatch County spent time on issues like traffic, vehicle access to the location and the idea of constructing residential units on hillsides, he said. The plans call for a “compact” overall development, he said.

Smith said the project is anticipated to be a “huge economic boom” for Wasatch County. A Wasatch County report recognizes the potential economic impacts.

“The opportunity for summer activities and skiing in the winter is hoped to provide high occupancy rates year round. Not many resort developments offer a 45 minute drive from an international airport with a State park reservoir within close proximity to the number 1 or 2 ranked ski resort in the country,” the report says.

The report outlines that a Resort Village planned in Mayflower Mountain Resort will have a five-star hotel and a four-star hotel as well as a conference center of 40,000 square feet. Development within the Resort Village is designed to be within a radius of 1,200 feet from the center, the report says, something that Wasatch County says promotes the pedestrian friendliness.

The Resort Village is also designed to have a ski beach, a promenade and an ice-skating rink or another feature that will draw people, according to the report. The report also discusses trail development that could connect Deer Valley, Park City, the Deer Crest area of Deer Valley and Wasatch Mountain State Park.

The overall Mayflower Mountain Resort involves 3,471 parking spots between surface lots and garages. Of those spots, upward of 1,200 will be designed to serve skiers at the resort for the day.

Developers over time have shifted their attention to the periphery of Park City as the number of significant parcels of land within the city dwindled. Outlying acreage in Summit County and Wasatch County has been of interest for more than a decade as developers sought locations close to the mountain resorts. It is rare, though, for a tract of land to enjoy a location like Mayflower Mountain Resort.

Deer Valley Resort President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Wheaton praised the efforts, saying the project is well planned and the developer is “top notch.” He said the Jordanelle Express Gondola, located on the Wasatch County side of the resort, is successful and the skiing infrastructure planned as part of Mayflower would “certainly enhance that.” Wheaton also said a project could cut traffic headed into Park City by providing an alternative access to the resort.