Park City Breaks Ground on its Largest-Ever Affordable Housing Project

PARK CITY Utah, October, 2023

City officials, housing advocates, and employees of J. Fisher Companies attended a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday at the project site just off Homestake Rd. near the Kimball Art Center and Recycle Utah in Park City.

When complete, the EngineHouse Apartments will have 123 units, 99 of which will be deed-restricted affordable housing.

The affordable units will be available to people making less than 60% of Summit County’s area median income, or AMI – which is roughly $62,000 annually for a single person. A one-bedroom affordable rental will go for around $1,500 per month.

The outlying 23 units will be rented at market rates, about $2,400 per month for a one-bedroom.

Park City Mayor Nann Worel praised the project, the city’s largest affordable housing project in history.

“As all of you know, access to affordable housing is a critical community need here and a top priority for the city council,” Worel said. “With EngineHouse, Park City Municipal continues to move forward towards delivering our goal of 800 affordable units by 2026. I am hopeful that through our success here, we can continue to explore really creative ways to bring more affordability to this community.”

The EngineHouse project is the first time the city has partnered with a private developer to build affordable units. Park City bought the land, which was previously used as a parking lot, in 2017. It plans to lease the land to J. Fisher Companies for $1 a year for 99 years.

J. Fisher’s subsidiary Olive West will serve as the property manager. The company plans to begin processing rental applications three to four months before construction is complete.

Ryan Davis, partner at J. Fisher, said they expect EngineHouse to open in late spring, early summer of 2025.

Longtime local developer Rory Murphy, who also worked on the project, credited city attorney Mark Harrington and affordable housing manager Jason Glidden for helping to bring the project to fruition.

“I believe EngineHouse will be a flagship project for Park City,” Murphy said. “The project is exactly what the city needed, exactly where we needed it. It fulfills the goals of the city, and we are very fortunate to be in this position today.”

Murphy also thanked Mary and Charlie Wintzer, who own the property to the south of the EngineHouse site, for their support.

The project has had its critics, including the chair of the city’s planning commission and a member of the city council.

Both raised concerns about the site’s proximity to a Rocky Mountain Power substation and the electric magnetic fields, or EMFs, to which future residents could be exposed.

The exposure from the substation is categorized as extremely low-frequency, which the National Cancer Institute says is not known to cause harmful health effects.

Davis with J. Fisher said they plan to build an 8-foot concrete barrier complete with artwork around the perimeter of the substation to serve as a buffer.

The city council discussed the potential of moving the substation at its retreat in September. No plans have yet been made.