A partially vacant downtown block might be used for a new or expanded 4th District Court building.

The Provo Redevelopment Agency voted Tuesday to sell the state just under two acres of land at 150 N. Freedom Blvd., for $1.37 million.The sale of the property is conditional upon the state devising a plan for a new courthouse within five years, said Ron Madsen, redevelopment agency director. The city may buy the land back if the project, which depends on funds from the Utah Legislature, isn't designed and built.

Provo insisted on the provision to ensure it regains control of the property should the courts project fall through. The Boyer Co. announced three years ago construction of a $25 million, 13-story office tower on the same land. But the building's primary tenant backed out and the building wasn't constructed.

Developing the block is important to the future of downtown Provo, said Mayor Lewis Billings.

"If they will expand or build a courts facility, it creates demand for other office space around it," Madsen said.

Billings said he's confident the state will complete the courts project because it was the only one for which the Legislature provided funds to buy property. The money to design and construct the building will come in phases during future legislative sessions, he said. The courts building currently sits on the southeast corner of what is known as the Ashton block.