Council OKs $3 million for parking terrace near mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 2 2011 6:13 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County has committed $3 million in property-tax revenue over 18 years toward construction of a $7 millon parking terrace at a planned upscale development near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

The County Council approved an agreement Tuesday that caps the county's contribution to the parking facility at the proposed Canyon Centre Community Development Area to $3 million over 18 years, whichever comes first.

The county — and county library district — will forgo 100 percent of new property-tax revenue in the project area. The county's participation is limited to construction of a three-level, 200,000-square-foot parking structure with 438 stalls

Canyon Centre is described in county documents as a "high-quality, mixed-use development" to be located at the southwest corner of Wasatch and Fort Union boulevards in Cottonwood Heights. It is the site of the former Canyon Racquet Club, which was razed about two years ago.

Long-range plans for the center envision two high-end hotels, two class-A office buildings, two fine dining restaurants and two retail shops. The development will also include a kiosk for the purchase of ski passes.

According to the county's agreement with the Cottonwood Heights Community Development and Renewal Agency, parking shall be made available to the public "initially free of charge" after 5 p.m., on weekends and holidays.

The parking structure should encourage use of public transportation in the canyons, as well as cut down on congestion in nearby neighborhoods during ski season.

"When the canyon is closed, we have a lot of people parking along Wasatch Boulevard or in our neighborhoods," said Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore.

Unlike some Community Development Agency agreements that are used to attract retail, the Canyon Centre project includes the parking structure, open space and a park.

"Ours actually generates a public benefit, which I think is a better use of a CDA," Cullimore said.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon said his administration supported the county's participation in the agreement because the parking structure should "help alleviate traffic going up the canyon."

State Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, and Sandy City Councilman Chris McCandless are the developers of the project, which would also receive tax increment financing from Cottonwood Heights. The city "will contribute no less than 75 percent of its incremental tax levy on both real and personal property for the entire 25-year project area term," according to the county's technical review committee's analysis.

E-mail: marjorie@desnews.com

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