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Ground broken for transit-oriented housing development in Sandy

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SANDY — As Utah's population continues to grow, local leaders and private developers are banking on more people looking for a place to live with easy access to mass transit.

The East Village, mixed-use housing going up in Sandy near the Sandy Civic Center TRAX station aims to do just that. Officials broke ground Friday for the new project being touted as a "transit-oriented development," a joint venture between the Utah Transit Authority, Hamilton Partners and the Kachadurian Group.

The partners are calling it the first joint development of its kind in the country.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx applauded the partnership at Friday's groundbreaking, calling the East Village development a model that could be looked at around the state and across the country.

"You're proving that transportation actually punches above its weight," Foxx said. "When you do it right, you create the kind of energy that motivates the private sector to come in and do something special. That's what you're doing here."

East Village will incorporate 271 apartment units varying in size and cost, with community areas such as a pool, party room and kitchen, fitness center and a community garden. As the area grows, it will also include more dining and retail.

UTA President and CEO Michael Allegra called the development a "catalyst for change," an example that can be adapted in other areas near transit on the Wasatch Front.

"We think this is going to become the norm for our community in the near future," Allegra said as he introduced the event. "We see people wanting to drive less, people wanting to take public transit more often."

The area is part of a changing vision for Sandy and possibly other cities as well, he said.

"We have about 80 different rail stations, and this is just one of them. We won't be doing this for all of them, but … we think we can be the trendsetter that shows the banking community and the development community that these are the kinds of places that our folks in Utah want to live, work and play," Allegra said.

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan said city officials tried to look 30 years into the future as they considered the East Village development and others that are being planned in the area, all in anticipation of a possible 20,000 new residents.

"We want our entire area of our civic downtown to become a transit-oriented development," Dolan said, elaborating on proposed trails and transit connections. "Density is going to be part of our future. We either plan for it now, or we get overrun by that density."

East Village is expected to be completed late next year, with preleasing beginning in the fall. Neighboring developments leased out in 90 days, Dolan said.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero