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Boyer Co. is facing several phases to develop gravel pit

Tuesday's vote gives it green light to buy land and get started

SANDY — It could be months before construction starts at the gravel pit in Sandy, but with Tuesday's voter approval of a zone change at the site, the Boyer Co. can move forward with its plan for the 107-acre site.

First up for Boyer is to purchase the land from the Gibbons family.

Boyer has an agreement to purchase the property and hopes to close on it within the next four to six weeks, said Scott Verhaaren, a partner. Boyer has preliminary site plan approval through the Sandy Planning Commission, but it still must take several phases of the project through final site plan reviews. The Planning Commission will look at planners' recommendations about curbs, gutters, decorations, roads, signs and streetlights, among others.

"Once they have final site plan approval, they move through the bonding phase and begin to get their construction drawings approved," said Nick Duerksen, Sandy spokesman. "Once those are approved, they can get a building permit."

Boyer is the master developer for the site. It will coordinate the development and provide common area maintenance and services, but individual stores will mostly be responsible for purchasing their own land or leasing buildings. Wal-Mart and Lowe's are planning to buy their own property, said Wade Williams, Boyer's director of retail development. Boyer will then lease most of the rest of the space, trying for a mix of shops and restaurants similar to its other projects: Sugarhouse Commons, Draper Peaks and South Jordan Town Center.

"We spend a lot of time making sure that we have the right mix of tenants and the right location and next to the right person," Williams said. "Tenant mix in shopping centers is so critical."

Williams wouldn't discuss tenants that Boyer was speaking to for possible inclusion in the development. Nothing's been firmed up other than that there will be a Lowe's and Wal-Mart, some housing, some park space and more retail. Plans for the site show banks of shops facing the ski-connect road that joins 9000 and 9400 South. Wal-Mart and Lowe's will sit deeper in the site behind those shops, separated from the road by large parking lots. Townhouses and apartment complexes will be clustered to the north end of the development, and a ribbon of green space and trails will be at the east edge of the gravel pit.

"We will have a high percentage of restaurants because they act like almost another anchor tenant," Williams said. "They create a gathering place. More and more meals are being eaten outside the home."

Voters approved the zone change by 10,758 to 9,427 votes Tuesday. The Boyer Co. and Wal-Mart helped form the Friends of Quarry Bend, which supported the zone change. Members of Save Our Communities, the group that opposed the change, argued throughout the campaign season that big-box stores did not belong in neighborhoods. SOC spent about $16,000; Quarry Bend spokesman Charles Evans declined to detail his group's spending.

"I think it's clear from our campaign that we had some money to spend and we had to spend it based on numbers," Evans said. Kelly Casaday, another spokesman for the group, has said that Wal-Mart provided the majority of money for Quarry Bend.

The hundreds of volunteers who worked on both sides of the campaign will now watch the development wend through Sandy's various departments. Duerksen said that a summer opening for the first phases would be optimistic, and the construction schedule would depend on how severe or mild weather is this winter.

SOC member Robyn Bagley said the group is not planning to further contest Planning Commission decisions — no more court cases, she said, but she also doesn't plan to shop at the development.

"I'll just drive right by it," Bagley said. "I'll take other routes. I will continue to patronize the local businesses in Sandy."


E-mail: kswinyard@desnews.com