The next three years will bring a big economic development boost to downtown Salt Lake City in the form of at least $140 million in new buildings.
Members of the Utah Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks heard that consensus from Salt Lake County Commission Chairman Mike Stewart, Mike Chitwood, director of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, and Ed Patience, assistant division manager of DMJM, an architectural and engineering company that did studies on location of the new Salt Palace.Chitwood said the biggest project will be the new $65 million Salt Palace located south of the Triad Center. He said Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller wants to start construction in July so the new 18,000-seat arena will be completed in time for the 1991 National Basketball Association season.
RDA has closed on 25 percent of the property on Block 57, which is bounded by Second and Third South and Main and State streets, which means that all but three small parcels are under RDA control, Chitwood said.
A master plan for the block is under way, and Chitwood expects some major activity on the block in less than one year. Some of the buildings will be removed because they are dangerous, and the Boyer Co. will start construction on a 350,000 square-foot $40 million office building within 12 months.
Other projects that will stimulate the downtown area in the next few months are construction of an office building at Third South and State where the Center Theatre is being demolished and construction of a Utah Department of Employment Security building on block 53 bounded by Third and Fourth South and State and Second East, Chitwood said.
Stewart said there is a push to build a new unified courts building in downtown Salt Lake City although an exact location hasn't been announced.
Patience said a study of Salt Lake convention business showed the present facilities aren't used at full capacity, but deficiencies prevent some large national conventions from being booked.
Stewart said Salt Lake County has been the largest developer of projects in Utah in the last 10 years with the exception of the Intermountain Power Project, yet the county has retained its AAA bond rating.
He said 47 percent of the downtown area isn't on the property tax roles because it is under redevelopment or belongs to churches. Therefore, the county and city must provide services and don't get much revenue to pay for those services, he said.