Sandy to buy land that was planned for Proscenium

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 23 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

SANDY — The Sandy City Council is slated to approve a $5 million purchase of the land that was once planned for a Broadway-style theater.

Plans for the 40-story, 600-foot Proscenium towers have been scrapped for now due to the developer's funding drying up, said Sandy spokeswoman Trina Duerkson. But a theater, apartments, condominiums or commercial development could still be on the horizon.

"Because of the market, it's kind of a different scenario out there now," Duerkson said. "It could be a completely different project than what was first approved."

Tuesday, city officials disclosed details of the planned $5 million purchase to the City Council. Sandy plans to buy the land from developer Scott McQuarrie and then lease it to a developer over the life of the project, Duerkson said.

It was unclear Tuesday whether McQuarrie intended to continue working on the project, but his architect Russell Platt is still on board. Attempts to reach McQuarrie for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

According to City Council Chairman Bryant Anderson, Sandy will benefit by following through with the purchase.

The City Council has 30 days to perform "due diligence" before voting on the proposal, Anderson said. Unless the council finds problems with the property, the sale is likely to sail through, he added.

"I think that's a good way to do it," Anderson said. "We get 5 percent return on our funds, plus we get all the benefits of the commercial development and everything. … From a development point of view, it looks like a pretty good move."

The purchase would officially be made through the city's redevelopment agency, which plans to borrow money from a property-acquisition fund until the project starts generating higher property tax revenues, Duerkson said.

Sandy used a similar ground-lease arrangement for the land that sits under Rio Tinto Stadium, she said.

The property in question is located near City Hall, about 10075 South and west of State Street. The 5 acres available for development there were appraised at $8.7 million in December 2008, but that was revised to about $5.5 million last month.

Until Sandy knows more about what will be built on the land, it has not made commitments about spending the rest of the redevelopment money generated by the project, Duerkson said.

The proposed Proscenium project is already within a redevelopment area, so some of the funds collected through property taxes when the property increases in value can be spent on improving the project. In this case, the tax-increment funding arrangement will last for 15 more years.

e-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com

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