US Market Update

Posted by Dave Farley
July 25th, 2011

A few thoughts, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest to Industry…

I recently returned from a trip to Utah including stops in Salt Lake City and the resort communities of Deer Valley and Park City.  My initial reaction, other than there are easier places for a guy to find a cold beer,  is that the Utah market is rebounding quicker and has better opportunities then  it’s neighboring States.  For example, in the state capital, I came across 3 condominium projects featuring five story, wood framed construction.  What is unique is that while the condo market is at a virtual standstill in most other cities in the Western half of the US, Salt Lake City has three projects under construction, all wood frame construction. Other condo projects that I have discussed, such as Bosa developments Radiance project in San Francisco, are primarily concrete construction; whereas in Salt Lake, nearly all of the residential and light commercial construction prominently featured wood as its main building material.

In the resort markets of Park City and Deer Valley, the residential and secondary vacation home market is starting to pick up.  This market boasts world class golf and skiing and is home to the Sundance Film Festival taking place every January. Park City was the location of the skiing and Nordic events for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

While not as busy in terms of high-end residential construction as Lake Tahoe, I still found plenty of opportunity for BC’s secondary wood product manufacturers. In particular, I met with the builders of a resort development called Promontory.  This project is a family-friendly, luxury real estate development in Park City.

While I was there, the Phoenix-based developer, Pivotal Group, broke ground this week on the construction of a 15,000-square-foot family activity center dubbed “The Shed.”

The upscale Shed will be a focal point of the development prominently located at the western edge of the Ranch Compound and is designed to be the hub of community activity. The Shed will be of heavy timber and wood framed construction and will feature extensive use of high quality architectural millwork and finished wood products throughout. Other features of the development include:

  • Relaxed family and private dining restaurant
  • Billiards and game arcade
  • A 50-seat movie theater
  • Two lanes of bowling
  • Gymnasium for indoor sports
  • Arts & crafts studio
  • Outdoor amphitheater with seating for 500

I will be following up with the builder and architect in the next few weeks to further explore opportunities for BC Wood members to have their products specified in the project.

Year-to-date at Promontory, there is already over 100 closed and pending transactions, representing nearly 20% of all the sales in the entire Park City and surrounding area. Park City has been one of the nation’s strongest mountain resort real estate markets this year, with the highest number of Q1 2011 sales, significantly more than Vail.

For those companies looking to develop or increase distribution into this market, the main building products yard used by the majority of builders that I spoke to is Stock Building Supplies in Park City www.stockbuildingsupply.com.  They service the Deer Valley and Park City Market and carry a wide assortment of exterior and interior construction products and accessories.

I was pleasantly surprised by the level of construction activity in the State and the willingness to use wood in both residential and light commercial construction projects throughout Utah.  Also, from the people that I spoke to, there was genuine interest in working with BC manufacturers and suppliers. For more information on this or any other market in the US, please contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com

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