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Park City's Yarrow Hotel Slated to be Sold at Auction; Owners Hart Hotels
Hopeful an Agreement will Be Reached with Lender Heller Financial

By Jay Hamburger, Park Record, Park City, UtahMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 23, 2009--The Yarrow, a stalwart hotel amid the glitzy lodging properties that have been built in the last decade, is scheduled to be sold at auction in a trustee's sale in January, the most recent stunner as the upheaval continues in a Park City economy once thought by many to be largely isolated from national trends.

The sale is slated for Jan. 13. The hotel, 1800 Park Ave., would be sold to the highest bidder. The president and CEO of the firm that owns The Yarrow said in a Monday interview his side and the lender are in negotiations. David Hart, who leads Buffalo, N.Y.-based Hart Hotels, said there remains a possibility an agreement will be reached between the hotel firm and the lender prior to the auction.

"I'm very hopeful we're going to work it out," Hart said.

Hart's firm in 1999 secured a $9,950,000 loan for The Yarrow with the intention of tearing down the aging hotel and building a new one at the site.

In September, a notice of default was filed at the County Courthouse indicating the firm had not paid what was due to the Chicago lender. According to Hart, the biggest payment on the loan -- $8.2 million -- was due at maturity on July 1. Until then, he said, his side kept up on the payments to the lender, Heller Financial, Inc.

Hart said his firm encountered difficulties as the recession deepened, with the hotel industry having "suffered quite a bit in the last year or so," he said. The Park City market has been hit "harder than the national average," Hart said.

Hart

said he expects The Yarrow to remain in operations through the ski season.

"I am highly confident the property will not close," he said.

The Summit County Assessor's Office values The Yarrow and the land it sits on at just less than $11.1 million.

Hart's firm had ambitious ideas to raze The Yarrow and rebuild at the site. It is among the most prominent of Park City's lodging properties operating as a traditional hotel as opposed to a condominium hotel. It has 181 rooms, which were updated in 2006, according to the hotel's Web site. In its place, Hart wanted to build a new condominium hotel.

Situated at the Park Avenue-Kearns Boulevard intersection, The Yarrow, which dates to the late 1970s, occupies a high-profile location. Still, though, many people choose to stay in other places closer to the slopes.

The talks about tearing The Yarrow down and rebuilding advanced to the Park City Planning Commission amid the financial crisis in late 2008. At the time, the architect hired to design the new building, Craig Elliott, said in an interview he envisioned a "blend of industrial and urban building types" and suggested that the new building could "set the tone for redevelopment" in that area of Park City.

Earlier, as Hart's firm prepared to bring the blueprints for the new building to the Planning Commission, Hart called The Yarrow a "three-star, low-rise hotel with independent status," adding that "there is a higher and better use" for The Yarrow.

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To see more of the Park Record, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.parkrecord.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, Park Record, Park City, Utah

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