With offices and personnel spread through-out the Salt Lake Valley, Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. has decided to consolidate its headquarters at one location - Magna.
The copper giant revealed its plans Wednesday when it asked the Salt Lake County Redevelopment Agency to help pay for the move to Arbor Park with $500,000 in tax increment financing."The facility in Magna's Arbor Park has the needed space to consolidate all Ken-ne-cott Utah Copper management and staff functions into a single, centrally located headquarters," said company president Bob Dimock.
Magna is a "fitting place for Kennecott to call home" because most of the company's minerals processing plants, including the north concentrator, refinery and smelter, are in that area, said Dimock, who is among those moving to Magna.
Since 1984, Kennecott Utah Copper has been based in Copperton, with additional offices at the Kennecott Building in downtown Salt Lake City and elsewhere in the valley.
The Copperton offices will continue to house the concentrator plant management, and mine management will remain in Bingham Canyon, a company spokesman said.
"Copperton has been and will continue to be of importance to Kennecott," the company said in a statement released Friday morning. Also, Kennecott Corp. will continue to be based in the Kennecott Building in downtown Salt Lake City.
Magna community leaders and county commissioners greeted the news with enthusiasm, saying the move will give the small, unicorporated mining town a huge economic boost.
Noting that Magna is already experiencing a "comeback" with a new swimming pool, tourism attractions and new businesses, Magna Chamber of Commerce president Jim Jeppson, said, "Kennecott's new office complex will further enhance the economic development of the Magna community."
County Commission Chairman Jim Bradley called the move "good for Kennecott Utah Copper and good for Magna," but withheld judgment on the RDA request.
"The question now is simply what, if any, public subsidy is justified," Bradley said.
In a letter to the RDA, Robert S. Bernstein, Kennecott's director of purchasing and planning, said the company is proposing to buy three buildings in Arbor Park for about $4 million and remodel them at a cost of another $4 million.
Two of the three buildings lie within the boundaries of the Arbor Park redevelopment project area, which means they can be considered for RDA assistance.
"The KUCC acquisition of Arbor Park buildings will ensure that a large, stable employer with a significant investment in Magna will occupy the buildings," Bernstein said.
According to Bernstein, the tax value of the buildings will increase by about $3 million, yielding more than $1 million in additional taxes to the county after tax-increment financing expires in 12 years.
"The taxpayers of Salt Lake County will benefit significantly from this proposal," Bernstein said.
Saying they need more information before acting on the RDA request, commissioners decided to hire a consultant to evaluate the financial implications on the RDA budget.