Mountain News 

Christmas, Sundance spending on the rise

Christmas, Sundance spending on the rise

PARK CITY, Utah - Customers resumed their free-spending ways at Christmas, and now corporations appear ready to do the same as the Sundance Film Festival returns to Park City.

"Last year they would have a glass of wine; this year a bottle," said Steve McComb, owner of three dining outlets in Park City, observing holiday visitors.

More telling yet, people were reserving tables at multiple restaurants, a tactic to ensure choices more commonly seen during the Sundance Film Festival. One steak-house restaurateur told the Park Record that business was what it was last year.

Sundance will begin Jan. 20, and it could be the rollicking affair reminiscent of old, given the evidence that corporations will restore allowances for high-profile presences to showcase products and services.

One agent of such parties estimated the number of festival lounges or other venues will increase 15 percent from last year, approaching the level reached in 2008, shortly before the recession free-fall.

"Companies who hadn't had places recently are spending money again. They're back to spending money," said Christopher Ryan, the Los Angeles-based agent.

Among the corporate brands with a prominent presence will be Bing, the search engine from Microsoft. Microsoft has rented a restaurant for use by celebrities and partying.

Another rental agent in Park City told The Record that rental fees paid during the two-week festival sometimes cover upward of four months of rent for the businesses.


Evidence at every turn of growing economy

ASPEN, Colo. - From the judge of records for November, real estate in Aspen and Pitkin County continues to grow. Through November, the real estate market is up 15 per cent as compared to 2009. This is as measured by total dollar sales, $1.14 billion, according to a Land Title Guarantee Co. report summarized by The Aspen Times.

Meanwhile, the town finance department reports sales tax receipts were up five per cent during November, another indication of a livelier economy.

In what has been a sharper indicator yet, The Times reported surging interest in leasing of retail locations. "I think everything is moving in a very positive direction," said Karen Setterfield, who has been leasing local retail and office space for 25 years. "There's a lot of energy in retail in downtown Aspen right now."

But in none of these cases are costs and revenues remotely close to the benchmarks of the last decade. In the case of commercial space, rates ranged between $90 and $240 per square foot. Now, the rents range from $45 to $125 a square foot, said Ruth Kruger, a real estate broker.

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