PARK CITY SEASON NOT IN DOUBT: TALISKER
SAM Magazine—Park City, Utah, July 11, 2012—While a long-term lease agreement for Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) remains elusive, PCMR leaseholder and Canyons owner Talisker said last week that it had assured PCMR that the resort will be able to open for the 2012-13 season. In fact, Talisker said it assured PCMR of this back in April.
At issue is the land that much of PCMR’s downhill terrain in on. That land is owned by United Park City Mines. Talisker Corp. acquired United Park City Mines in 2003. It purchased Canyons in 2009.
After years of lease negotiations broke down last March, PCMR sued Talisker and said if the lease was not renewed, PCMR might not be able to open next winter. Both sides say they continue to negotiate a long-term lease agreement.
On July 3, Talisker issued a statement in which it said it had "provided Park City Mountain Resort with a written commitment not to close PCMR during the upcoming 2012-13 ski season. That binding commitment, at a rent that essentially assures PCMR a profit over this period, was delivered to PCMR in April, weeks prior to PCMR’s suggestion to the marketplace that it might not be open for the upcoming ski season."
The statement went on to say Talisker "is disappointed that PCMR continues to circulate incorrect and inflammatory information to the public,” but it did not say why Talisker waited three months to make its assurances public.
Nor does the statement, or a followup statement from PCMR, say that terms of a lease agreement have been reached, either for the coming winter or for the longer term. And it’s likely the two sides are far apart. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, PCMR’s lease last year was $155,000, while Talisker paid approximately $3 million in rent to the assorted private landowners of the Canyons’ terrain.
In its statement, PCMR said it believes “that the agreements in place entitle it to use the resort property through the year 2051. Talisker argues that the agreements have expired and will not be extended until the resort agrees to Talisker's financial demands. The resort believes those financial demands to be completely unreasonable.
“Although we're encouraged by Talisker's public statements that it doesn't intend to attempt an eviction during the next ski season, the parties have so far been unable to resolve this dispute. We have always desired a fair and quick resolution to this dispute for the sake of our employees and the greater Park City community. We remain committed to finding a solution in discussions with Talisker.”
The lack of resolution, though, has gained attention of those in high places. Talisker’s statement acknowledged the efforts of Sen. Orrin Hatch to encourage both sides to settle the issue. "Talisker respects and welcomes the Senator's offer to facilitate discussions, and very much hopes his efforts will lead to a successful conclusion," it said.
Will that help lead to agreement? Stay tuned.