Salt Lake officials are aggressively lobbying state government to build a 150,000-square-foot, $11 million Department of Economic Security office building in the downtown area, an official told the City Council Thursday.
State Facilities Manager Neal Stowe confirmed the possibility the state may build downtown, bringing to four the number of proposals for office towers in the city's ailing downtown, subject of a massive redevelopment effort.The City Council, doubling as the Redevelopment Agency, in an emergency meeting Sept. 22 will discuss inducements to attract the state to build downtown, city Development Services Director Craig Peterson said.
"We want to be assertive and aggressive in turning around our situation in the central business district," he said.
The city is considering two possible sites for the building. Both would fulfill Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team recommendations for a governmental center in the south downtown area, Peterson said.
One is on Block 53 at 340 S. Second
ast immediately south of the state's Heber Wells Office Building. The second is on Block 49 at Third South and Second West.
City Council members Thursday tentatively discussed shifting the city's redevelopment district to Block 53 so they could offer developers tax increment breaks as inducements to build there.
Peterson said the city could give the state the Block 49 land if it will build its building there. Both inducements would be subject to City Council approval, he stressed.
"We, as a city, would like to see that building located in the downtown area," Peterson said.
The state is considering offers from private land owners throughout the city, but Stowe said the state "is interested in trying to support the city."
Passage by the Utah Legislature in this week's special session of an amendment enabling the city to create a parking authority was crucial to capturing the state's interest in building downtown, Peterson said.
With the authority, the city can help the state build a parking structure to accommodate workers, Peterson said. The authority allows the city to pay for parking structures with revenue generated by parking fees.
A parking structure could also benefit office workers in the Heber Wells office, the nearby City Centre building and the City-County Building now under renovation, Peterson said.
Currently, office space for Economic Security, which administers Job Service and other programs, is scattered throughout the city. Consolidating them under one roof would increase efficiency and reduce costs, Stowe said.
Construction could begin this spring after the state sells $11 to $13 million in construction bonds, Stowe said. Depending on design, the building could be three to seven stories high, he said.
Creating a governmental center in the south downtown area is the focus of city Planning and Zoning Office efforts.