PARK CITY, UTAH -- There are two sides to resort towns. For visitors, they are worry-free vacation destinations, but for many workers in these communities, affordable housing is out of reach.
Newpark Corp. aims to ease this problem in Park City, a community known for its ski slopes, the Sundance Film Festival, and other recreational activities.
The company's Newpark Studios sits in the middle of a sweeping 38-acre development that is under construction. The area's urban center includes offices, retail, entertainment and recreational centers, and market-rate housing, including a condominium hotel.
The overall development is part of a pilot program for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Neighborhood Development, a rating system that integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design.
Newpark Studios features studio apartments that are about 440 square feet each. Units have their own kitchens, bathrooms, and walk-in closets.
A radiant heating system was included in the design to keep residents warm during the cold winter months.
Developed by Newpark Corp., the project opened in January and leased in about a month, according to Chris Retzer, project representative.
The development fulfills an inclusionary zoning requirement on the ambitious town center project.
"Land values are so very high that it's extremely difficult to find parcels that can either be donated or purchased for affordable housing," said Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott. She said there is a deficit of about 600 affordable units in the western region of the county, which includes Park City.
Park City has a population of about 7,500, and the median home price is about $450,900, according to the 2000 census.
The studio apartments are targeted to residents earning no more than 30 percent, 35 percent, and 40 percent of the area median income. Monthly rents range from $438 to $584, according to Retzer.
The rents are as little as 16 percent and as much as 50 percent below market rates, he said.
The approximately $5 million development was financed largely through lowincome housing tax credits allocated by the Utah Housing Corp. U.S. Bank was the direct tax credit investor.
The project is in a difficult-to-develop area, so the developers received a 30 percent boost in qualified basis for tax credits. -- Donna Kimura