The Town Stays in the Picture

Park City, Utah, has managed to take care of its low-glitz, down-to-earth likeness despite all the celebrities WHO own homes there— Johnny Carson in the 1970s to Will Smith, Katherine Heigl and Jeffrey Katzenberg today.

It’s still attainable to stay anonymous within the ski-resort city, celebrities say. Former ABCs anchor Charles Gibson bought his initial first home in Park City in 1987, also in the same year he signed on to host “Good Morning America,” and then built a bigger house in the mid-1990s that is visible from the Deer Valley ski lifts. One day while riding up to the lift, Mr. Gibson says, a man sitting next to him pointed at his house and told him that Bryant Gumbel lived there.
the town stays in the picture
“Hollywood goes to Aspen—that’s the place to be seen. Park City keeps a low profile,” says actor Kevin Sorbo, who is best known for his lead role in the television series “Hercules. The Legendary Journeys,” and WHO is in eight movies recorded last year. Mr. Sorbo bought a four-bedroom condo six years ago in the St. Regis Deer Valley resort (a unit of that size is for sale there for $7 million) so he could ski, golf and mountain bike out of the limelight.
But it is Park City—not Aspen—where the aristocracy will alight this weekend for the annual two-week Sundance Film Festival. The cons are packed restaurants, an army of paparazzi and lots of what locals call PIBs (People in Black). Local real-estate agents see one huge pro: The influx of nonresidents is a perfect opportunity for them to lure in potential buyers—especially those looking for an un-Hollywood escape.

Easy access helps make Park City population 7,500 in the town proper—attractive to people from Los Angeles. Direct flights from LAX or Burbank to Salt Lake City take less than two hours, with a 40-minute drive to town.

Last year more than 30,000 nonresidents attended Sundance, and some 40% of those visitors said they would return to Utah during the following year, according to a study on the economic impact of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on the state of Utah by the University of Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Many celebrities bought homes in Park City. Katy Patterson who is sales agent at the Montage Deer Valley resort, where a four-bedroom, five-bathroom condo is for sale for $4.7 million mentioned that 80% of the 33 owners at the resort are from the Los Angeles area and that three of the Montage’s sales last year were to people in town for Sundance.

Risa Shapiro, a Hollywood manager at the Schiff Co., whose clients include Jennifer Connelly and Andie MacDowell, they first went to Sundance when “Four Weddings and a Funeral” played there in 1994. Six years ago, she bought a second home with five bedrooms in a luxury gated community about 20 minutes from Park City.

According to Zillow, the most expensive home is Park City, is a $44 million, 12-bedroom, 16-bathroom, 22,000-square-foot estate on 60 acres in upper Deer Valley and in Aspen, it is a $45 million, seven-bedroom, 11-bathroom, 18,750-square-foot house on three-quarters of an acre. There are four homes priced above $20 million in Park City while Aspen has 14 homes above that level.

Credit goes to : NANCY KEATES

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