Summit County Council to vote on purchase of Skullcandy building from Dakota Pacific subsidiary

Summit County Council will vote to use taxpayer money to purchase the 7-acre Skullcandy property for $17.5 million from a subsidiary of Dakota Pacific Real Estate, Thursday, May 8. Dakota Pacific has been in public negotiations with the county for four years about building a large-scale housing project on land surrounding the Skullcandy parcel.

The Summit County Council will vote Thursday to approve purchasing the Skullcandy headquarters building and roughly seven-acre property for $17.5 million using sales tax bonds.

The announcement, which was made on Wednesday, May 8, comes about a month after the council decided to move negotiations behind closed doors to further vent ideas that were put forward around land trade, citing what they said was complicated and nuanced situation. The subcommittee consists of two council members, county staff and employees of Dakota Pacific.

The public meeting will be held Thursday, May 9 at 2:30 at the Sheldon Richins building in Kimball Junction.

The roughly seven-acre parcel in Kimball Junction is owned by a subsidiary of Dakota Pacific Real Estate and is surrounded by land that has been part of the controversial Dakota Pacific development discussion. Negotiations have recently centered on trying to establish a public-private partnership on the surrounding land that would be mutually beneficial to the county and Dakota Pacific. The county has been trying to leverage such an agreement in exchange for granting Dakota Pacific the right to build housing.

Council member Chris Robinson said the county began looking at the Skullcandy property in February, which was originally part of an offering by commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield that packaged three buildings together. The other two buildings for sale were located on the other side of Highway 224, near the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse.

“In the end they found buyers for the other two buildings, and selected to proceed with trying to negotiate a purchase and sale agreement with us,” Robinson said during a press conference held Wednesday afternoon.

The council has proposed trading the Richins Building for land to the west of Skullcandy, expanding the Kimball Junction Transit Center and moving county services to a new building next to Skullcandy.

A press release put out by the county on Wednesday said purchasing the Skullcandy property may be a more economical way to expand county services at Kimball Junction.

“Summit County has worked for years to identify a suitable location for a new county facility in the Snyderville Basin,” County Council Chair Malena Stevens said. “The Council has explored options to acquire an existing property such as the Skullcandy headquarters compared to the cost feasibility of building a new facility. Existing infrastructure may best serve our community in a more fiscally responsible manner.”

The $17.5 million dollar deal equates to $388 per square foot (the Skullcandy building is 45,000 sqft.,) which local realtors say is line with the current market.

“Given current construction costs, I’m sure the county would spend far more than $17.5 million if they built a new building of similar size today,” Tim Anker, Principal Broker with Acme Commercial Real Estate said.

There aren’t a lot of other buildings around here that  would meet our needs and we think this is good value, especially given costs. We were talking spending a lot more money this and that didn’t include any land,” Council member Robinson said.

To fund the purchase, the County would pledge its existing sales tax revenues to pay off bonds issued. The County Council does not intend to impose additional taxes or increase sales taxes to acquire the property.

Robinson said the county would likely need to issue bonds in excess of the $17.5 million price tag to make improvements to the Skullcandy building to make it suit their needs.

As for the current tenants of the property, Skullcandy, County Manager Shane Scott said the plan is for the county to continue the lease agreement with the company, which Scott said would provide the county with some revenue for the time being.

Should the Council approve the purchase, there is no definitive timeline on when Summit County would move into the space or what services and amenities would be located there. While the Skullcandy property is not included in the proposed Dakota Pacific project, the property could become part of a larger public-private partnership in the area, the county said.  There are no plans to relocate the County Seat from the courthouse in Coalville to this facility.

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