Current and future development could prompt the Utah Transit Authority to add one more passenger station to its 15-mile light-rail mass transit system.
UTA officials have been approached by representatives from Sandy and Salt Lake County about building a Transit Express station near 9400 South in Sandy.It would become the 17th station on the north-south, Sandy-to-Salt Lake City main line, scheduled for completion in March 2000.
"We have to make a judgment about adding another station," said John Inglish, UTA's general manager. "It adds travel time and, at some point, there's a balance that has to be maintained."
UTA originally planned to have 17 stations on the line but later postponed plans to build a platform at 2700 South in South Salt Lake because of projected low ridership. That station could be added later, Inglish said.
"Just because we drop a station does not mean we have a station to add," he said. "It has to do with station spacing and a whole lot of issues. We're evaluating it."
The 9400 South station would become the third in Sandy - sandwiched between a stop at 9000 South (Historic Sandy) and the end-of-the-line station at 10000 South (Sandy Civic Center). It would serve an existing residential area and a burgeoning commercial center.
Larry Miller's huge $97 million Jordan Commons project, to include a 17-screen movie theater complex and a 10-story office building, is taking shape just north of 9400 South between State Street and 150 West - just west of the TRAX rail corridor.
And the county is considering nearby property, at 9500 South and State Street, for a proposed exhibition hall that could be completed as soon as October 2000.
Another 60 acres of land that could support additional office buildings and retail businesses also is within walking distance of the proposed 9400 South station.
Dan Simons, former economic development director for Sandy, is now supervising the development of Jordan Commons. He said potential tenants of the office building and the complex's restaurant space have expressed interest in having a light-rail stop close by.
"I would imagine it would help at least a little bit by allowing people who want to office at Jordan Commons to take light rail to work," Simons said. "And for people who want to come to the movies or restaurant without taking their car, I can see that being a benefit."
The cost of the additional station shouldn't be an issue. The TRAX project remains millions of dollars under its $312 million budget and UTA officials previously have said the leftover money could be used to enhance the system.
Jordan Commons, being constructed on the former site of the old Jordan High School, will include 266,000 square feet of office space, and a family theme restaurant with 800 seats and a three-story waterfall.
The office building should be open for business next August. The rest of the project is set for completion a few months later.
Simons said Jordan Commons won't depend on public transit. Its two three-level parking garages will include 2,400 parking stalls - plenty for tenants, patrons and visitors.
The Salt Lake County Commission has tentatively approved the Sandy site for the suburban exhibition center, intended to relieve pressure on the overbooked Salt Palace. The commission could make that decision final at its Aug. 19 meeting.