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Deer Valley Sale: Development Rights and Plans to Remain

Deer Valley Resort, the pinnacle of luxury skiing in the Western United States, recently made nationwide news after the resort sold to a currently un-named startup in the ski industry with 12 unique holdings throughout North America. While the slopes were the main focus of the acquisition, development rights approved decades ago are also now in the hands of the new owners.

In addition to the slopes, the new startup also gains ownership of critical real estate in the base area of Deer Valley. Among these holdings is the large parking area outside of Snow Park Lodge in Lower Deer Valley. In the 1970s, City Hall issued an overall development approval for what is now the Deer Valley Resort slopes, the Silver Lake Village, and the Snow Park Lodge. Those development rights authorized development on several pieces of land, many of which have seen new construction in the decades since the original approval. The Snow Park parking area, featuring relatively flat and highly developable terrain, has yet to be tapped.

Deer Valley Resort has, as recently as 2007, discussed potential development on the parking area property, but a formal application was never filed. Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort has said, “The timing for that has not come up,” in response to the development potential. Wheaton also explained that this particular piece of property was not a central aspect to the acquisition discussions. Instead, the startup buyers focused on Deer Valley’s focus on guests, its staff, limiting skier usage each day, and the ban on snowboarding.

The Snow Park project is described as a mixed-use area, with both residences and commercial spaces, as well as a pedestrian plaza and common spaces. Residences would be on the upper level of the development, while a new parking structure would increase capacity from the current 1,250 spaces to 2,100 and spots would be added to address the traffic the new development would generate.

News of this new development potential comes as Deer Valley is in the midst of a major development and expansion of skiable terrain on the Wasatch County side of the resort. That side, commonly called the Mayflower side, is still in the preliminary stages of planning the development. Wheaton has made it clear that the Mayflower development will be “sufficiently developed” before the Snow Park project is given serious consideration. Wheaton also assured interested parties and said, “The new ownership doesn’t alter any of our plans, any of our vision.”

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