Questar Center development planned for 333 State Street

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Several Salt Lake business partners plan to build a new Questar headquarters to pump economic energy into downtown.

The new building will be one of the first LEED Silver energy efficient buildings in downtown Salt Lake.

In this economy, financing is the key to commercial development. Project leaders say the financing is in place, construction will generate jobs, plus the Questar Center will be one of Salt Lake's most energy-efficient buildings when it's done.

Wasatch Commercial Management and Zions Bank teamed up to start work on the Questar Center at 333 S. State Street. They unveiled a drawing of the building and many of the specifications Tuesday.

Gov. Gary Herbert called it "a commitment to economic growth and expansion in the state of Utah."

It's a significant step in an economy with many lingering problems.

"We're betting that Utah is going to succeed and will succeed," said Dell Loy Hansen, CEO of Wasatch Commercial Management. "We're moving forward very rapidly."

The $45 million corporate headquarters will include retail and restaurant space.

New Questar building
  • The six-floor 170,000 square foot building will replace the north half of the parking lot at 175 E. 400 South.
  • Parking is moved underground.
  • Some 6,000 square feet of street level/restaurant space are planned, plus a public plaza and passageways to enhance the Salt Lake street scene.

"We are replacing a parking lot, part of a parking lot, with an office building and a lot of activity and use," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

The Questar Center will be one of the first LEED Silver energy-efficient buildings in downtown Salt Lake. Six hundred employees will work in a space 20 percent smaller than current headquarters because it will better organized.

Construction will generate more than a quarter million hours of work and support contractors for 18 months.

The head of Wasatch Commercial Management said this is a big deal partly because it's a hard time for developers to get money.

"So, for Zions Bank to step up in the middle of this commercial real estate crisis and commit this kind of funding is really bigger than most people realize," Hansen said.

Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce President Lane Beattie recently had this envious exchange with a visiting chamber leader:

"He asked me, 'Do you know the difference between Salt Lake City and our cities?' and, I said, 'I'm anxious to hear,'" Beattie recalled. "He said, 'Your cranes move.'"

Right now, the Beattie says $1.6 million is spent every day on construction projects in Salt Lake that create more than 1,000 construction jobs -- that's what keeps the cranes moving.

No date has been announced for a groundbreaking. The builders say the Questar Center will open January 2012.


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