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SLC council debate funding for new Draper development

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Dec. 21, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County council gave tentative support to a plan that would allow high-rise development near the Draper Frontrunner stop in the future.

However, mass transit stops and development are highly expensive and on Friday, the council struggled with the issue of whether more public money should be used to further private projects.

Salt Lake's County Council has agreed to invest $44 million taxpayer dollars into part of a new high-tech business complex near a Frontrunner stop in Draper. But the Council will not spend any of that money on retail or housing developments.

President Jeff Edwards of the Utah Economic Development Corporation applauds the move.

"The funds are used to create infrastructure, roads, water, power, all those kinds of things that will last for many years to come. We hope that proves a catalyst to bring it forward."

The Council sees this 20-year plan as a way to bring in more higher-wage earners to live and spend locally, though members asked themselves if the county should invest in private development at all.

The development plan in Draper includes building a 345 acre transit-oriented development including high-rise offices and residential buildings at around 130th south, and west of I-15.

EBay already has expansion plans on the property, and Draper reportedly has two potential tenants linked to national companies interested.

"This is a chance to create a new economic engine in this state," said Jeff Edwards. "And the county has a partnership with Draper City to create a place where high technology businesses could come, create jobs and create in impact for the next 50 years in Salt Lake County."

Because of the public money requested, the Salt Lake County is cautious about signing on to the deal. Council members voted unanimously to allow Mayor Ben McAdams to negotiate terms of the project. Councilman Jim Bradley says this kind of 'taxpayer watchdog' role is important especially if the project starts to fail.

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Richard Piatt

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