Salt Lake City's Redevelopment Agency has tied the carrot on the stick in an attempt to lure the state of Utah to build an office tower in the downtown.
The City Council, which doubles as the RDA, met in an emergency session Thursday to hear RDA Executive Director Michael Chitwood outline two proposed sites for the Department of Economic Security.Mayor Palmer DePaulis said the new state building would be "the critical mass needed to bring people downtown . . . a win-win situation."
Chitwood proposed the city entice the state by offering land on one parcel and, if the state chooses the other, offer to build up to 650 covered parking units.
The two sites for the $11 million to $13 million, seven-story building are in the 300 block of State Street on Block 53 and the 300 block of Second West on Block 49, Chitwood said.
The state has committed to building a new office for Economic Security, which oversees Job Service and other agencies. The department now has offices scattered around Salt Lake City.
State Facilities Manager Neal Stowe said the state has offers from other sites but is interested in locating downtown.
The RDA owns a 90,000-square-foot parcel on the northwest corner of Block 49 and is willing to give the state the land, valued a $1.35 million, if it chooses to build there, Chitwood said.
On Block 53, RDA has the option to buy some land it sold to Price-Prowswood Ltd., which bought much of the block for development. The RDA included a use-it-or-lose-it clause in the sales agreement so it can buy back the land if Price-Prowswood fails to develop in a timely manner, Chitwood said.
The RDA would then sell the land to the state and offer to build a $2.5 million parking structure, Chitwood said. The money would come from a return in federal grant money.
The city hopes it can keep a $2.5 million settlement being negotiated in connection with the Select Telephone Technologies suit, which officials said could go toward the structure.
The city could also bond to build the structure, said Craig Peterson, city development services director. The bond could be repaid with parking fees under a parking authority approved by the Legislature in a Sept. 14 special session.
In addition to serving the Economic Security Department, the parking structure could also benefit the state's Heber Wells Building on Block 53, and the Chamber of Commerce Building also on the block, Chitwood said.
The parking structure could also accommodate parking for other private offices and the City-County Building, now under renovation and suffering from a lack of parking space for hundreds of city employees.