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Scott G Winterton, KSL

Zions Bancorporation announces tech campus project on former Superfund site in Midvale

By Sahalie Donaldson, KSL | Posted - May 28, 2020 at 7:42 p.m.

MIDVALE — Zions Bancorporation plans to build a technology campus on the former Sharon Steel Mill Superfund site in Midvale, which will hone in on sustainability measures like harnessing solar energy and supporting the surrounding natural habitat.

The 400,000-square-foot campus, slated for completion in mid-2022, will be erected to accommodate regional bank employees from 11 different sites. In doing so, it will become Zions Bancorporation’s primary technology and operations center, consolidating operations and saving office costs.

Zions Bancorporation, which had an annual net revenue of $2.8 billion in 2019 and has more than $70 billion in total assets, operates in 11 different states throughout the western U.S. The financial service company is currently headquartered in Salt Lake City.

“This environment-friendly campus will help us attract the best technology talent in the country while also reducing our overall facilities costs,” said Harris H. Simmons, Zions Bancorporation chairman and CEO, in a Wednesday news release.

The campus will eliminate the need for 11 smaller facilities, reducing occupancy costs by more than 20%, according to the release. Employees at the new campus will come from various sites across Salt Lake Valley, including the downtown headquarters.

The project will break ground this fall, said Jennifer Smith, Zions Bancorporation chief information officer and executive vice president of technology and operations.

The project’s location was selected for a variety of reasons, including the role it will play in reclaiming a portion of the former steel mill that was once heavily polluted. The campus will also support the habitat system through ecologically focused design and landscaping, she said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency highlighted the Sharon Steel site as a success story on the “environmental justice” front. The site, which was known for industrial waste containing lead and arsenic, was on the federal agency’s Superfund list; however, in 2018 it was lauded for its redevelopment and commercial potential after extensive waste cleanup efforts.

Smith said the project will compliment the regional habitat developed near Jordan River Parkway. The location also gives Zions Bancorporation the opportunity “to be part of rebuilding what was formerly a location that had substantial environmental problems,” she said.

Other factors like where employees live, areas of the state where leaders are recruiting talent and a proximity to public transportation also played a role in the decision.

The campus, which will be nestled along the parkway, will utilize green space and offer outdoor recreation opportunities, along with shareable bikes, locker and shower facilities, and display art for the community.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the campus will have a “significant economic impact” on Midvale, the state and the surrounding areas. Such an investment is critical to Utah’s “ongoing growth, innovation and success” of the economy, financial services and technology sectors, according to Herbert.

“As Utah has gained a significant reputation for being a leader in the intersection of financial services and technology industries, this investment further validates that recognition and our unmatched business climate,” Herbert said.

Midvale government officials echoed the governor’s sentiments.

Mayor Robert Hale said the project signals a great “leap forward” in the use of the former Superfund site.

He said he anticipates the project will bring an influx of money, jobs, economic growth and “bright young professionals,” to the community.

“It’s just going to be a tremendous opportunity for local businesses and local services to supply the needs of these new employees coming in,” Hale said.

Okland Construction and Layton Construction crews will build the campus in line with top environmental standards. It is anticipated the project will achieve a Platinum LEED certification — meaning more than 75% of the building’s electricity will come from on-site solar panels, the heating and cooling systems will be efficient, and the center will feature electric vehicle charging stations, according to the news release.

Smith said the center will also provide space for the community to convene through the campuses’ expansive conference room space and beautiful outdoor grounds.

The campus will also be constructed in a manner conducive to future transformations as employee work habits evolve over time.

“We are bringing together employees that currently reside in 11 different buildings,” Smith said. “Those buildings were designed for a time when our work was vastly different than it is today. Our work today requires a high degree of collaboration, it requires us to think creatively and we do that through our interactions with one another. This space will facilitate those kind of connections.”

Sahalie Donaldson

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