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Developers, Holladay squabbling over tech center

Building height and project space at issue

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HOLLADAY — Developers of a proposed high-tech center continue to squabble with city leaders about the size of their project.

The Holladay Planning and Zoning Commission loosened the amount of square footage the Millrock Technology Center can use for its office buildings, raising the maximum from 410,000 to 490,000 square feet. The remaining footage of the approximately 900,000-square-foot project would be devoted to open space and an access road.

The usable land remains well below the 675,000 square feet the city could allow for Millrock and has forced the developer to compromise his request for about 600,000 square feet for his buildings. The increase came after the City Council returned the restriction to the Planning Commission and now allows a range of usable land between 450,000 to 490,000 square feet.

"The advantage of giving the developer a range is to give him the ability to work with the size of the buildings," Planning Commission member Dick Cornelius said. "The reason we want the flexibility is to minimize the impact on adjacent residential areas."

The Millrock project will eventually include five "smart" buildings, which will cater to technology companies, Millrock general partner Steve Peterson said. The buildings will probably be two or three stories, and there may be a parking terrace constructed. It will be built on land formerly used as a gravel pit, just east of I-215 and south of Old Mill Golf Course along 6200 South and Wasatch Boulevard.

Millrock hopes to attract national and international tenants that will provide higher salaries for the Salt Lake Valley. Already, he said, officials have started negotiations with a global company.

"Our vision is to develop a world-class facility," Peterson said. "We have the perfect location for it."

The project has encountered opposition from residents to the north, who worry they will lose their views of the Wasatch Mountains because of the height of the buildings. Already, they have seen a number of other office buildings rise in the area, primarily as part of the Cottonwood Corporate Center.

Millrock will be designed with those residents in mind, and already they have committed to setbacks of 50 feet, with evergreen trees providing a buffer, Peterson said. The nearest structure to the residents will be a parking terrace, he said, which will be landscaped behind a bluff and would only have the top story visible.

"We're trying to do everything we can to minimize the impact," he said. "An office building can be a good neighbor near a residential area."

When Holladay incorporated in 1999, the Millrock project had already received some initial approvals from the Salt Lake County Commission for a condominium project. Now, although the project has changed, the city is trying to handle the neighbors' complaints while adapting a project it inherited to city plans.

Not that Stillman is bitter about inheriting the Millrock project. Because of the other development in the area, it will be consistent with the surrounding land use, and it will make Holladay's Knudsen Corner an even stronger business destination.

"The area is being developed as office space," Stillman said. "We have a great chance to have a wonderful office park with open space."

E-MAIL: jloftin@desnews.com