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‘World-class facility’ ahead

Construction not expected to disrupt downtown Salt Lake

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Construction will begin in the fall on an office complex at 222 S. Main.

Construction will begin in the fall on an office complex at 222 S. Main.

Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News

When construction on a massive, $100 million downtown office complex begins in the fall, it should cause minimal disturbance to traffic and business on Main Street, developers said Friday.

Hamilton Partners, along with Wasatch Real Estate Partners and Wasatch Development Associates, on Friday officially announced plans to build a 21-story, 450,000-square-foot office/retail complex at 222 S. Main. Construction is expected to begin in the fall, with a first quarter 2008 target completion date.

"There couldn't be a better time to be building a major, prestigious building in downtown Salt Lake City," said Frank Matheson, president of Wasatch Real Estate Partners. "The stars have aligned in a way that a few years ago would have been completely unfathomable."

Hamilton Partners initially announced its intent to build the complex in May 2004. Without a suitable partner, the project lay dormant — until about six months ago when, according to Hamilton Partners partner Bruce Bingham, Wasatch approached with an offer to buy the property. Hamilton declined but entered into partnership talks instead.

The result, Bingham said, will be "a world-class facility for a world-class city."

"Salt Lake has been characterized as the crossroads of the West," Bingham said at a news conference at the Wells Fargo Center. "That's true. it will become the crossroads of the world. This will be one contribution toward that great effort."

The project is a 50-50 partnership between Wasatch and Hamilton. Wasatch Development Associates will oversee construction, said Wasatch Development President Troy Thompson, while Wasatch Real Estate Partners will handle leasing. Both are a part of the Logan-based Wasatch Property Management family of companies. Hamilton Partners will oversee asset management.

Hamilton Partners is "noble" and "talented in handling large buildings," said Dell Loy Hansen, chairman and chief executive of Wasatch Property, while his company is "scrappy."

"We see this as a great, long-term commitment to Salt Lake, and we're really committed to make it happen," Hansen said. "That's part of the team, is that our capital, our leasing, our construction and our raw enthusiasm that Salt Lake is the place to be is what's going to make this a success. We just have to get there before the church finishes their next 800,000 square feet. So we're running really fast."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is planning a massive downtown reconstruction project a block from 222 S. Main on the site of the ZCMI Center and Crossroads Plaza malls. When that project will commence is still unknown. The church declined comment Friday.

The bulk of the 222 S. Main construction will take place on-site, Thompson said, with minimal disruption on Main Street. Where disruptions are unavoidable, Thompson said they will be scheduled during off-hours as often as possible. Access to the nearby TRAX station is not expected to be impeded.

With Class A office space at a premium — vacancies are reportedly 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent in the metro area — Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said the Main Street building fills a need and will contribute to the growth of the community.

"There's never been, in the history of Salt Lake City, so many offices filled in downtown, so many housing units filled or under construction or about to be under construction," Anderson said. "So this building provides more Class A office space, adding to the vitality, the walkability of this community. This will be more success breeding success down the road."

E-mail: jnii@desnews.com