1 of 2
Utopia Station Development Corporation And Ibi Group
The "urban residential" Market Station will be located at 2100 South between Main and State. Construction starts in the spring.

SOUTH SALT LAKE — South Salt Lake's biggest mixed-use project is getting a huge backing from elected officials, who are considering giving city funds to what they hope will be a catalyst for redevelopment.

"It's going to be exactly what we need to create basically a new city," Councilman Bill Anderson said. "Our city is old and we need to do a lot of redevelopment. I think what we're putting in place here is a model for the kind of redevelopment that is necessary."

The project, Market Station, is unlike the majority of mixed-use projects being built all over the state. The 18-acre development will cost $500 million and will extend from 2100 South to 2300 South and Main to State streets.

While most of its competitors focus on retail development, Market Station will be a place for people. Residential units far outnumber the commercial and office space, with a 27-story condominium tower and townhomes.

Office space will cap out at 400,000 square feet; retail at 40 units.

"This is a community first. You're going to see a project unlike anything Salt Lake has seen," said developer Steve Aste, managing partner of Park City-based Cascade Development Partners. "We want to create a unique environment where people can feel like they're at home."

Aste calls it "urban residential." He says it will be dramatically different from The Gateway, where residents must drive to go to the grocery store or pick up a bottle of aspirin.

"That's not a community. It's a retail center with residential thrown in as an afterthought," Aste said.

Market Station will have a grocery store, day care, village center and pocket parks.

On top of that, the development is centered around various transportation hubs. Both Interstate 15 and Interstate 80 feed into the project, as does a light-rail TRAX line. A proposed trolley line could run from the TRAX stop to Sugar House on an existing rail line along 2200 South, a Utah Transit Authority right-of-way. The Parley-Pratt trail will also one day cross the development.

Already, a 76-unit condo complex, Central Pointe, with seven retail stores sits at the head of the project at 2150 S. Main.

"I'm thrilled that these businessmen could see the value of doing this development here. They are taking some significant risks, but they did kind of a test project on Central Pointe, and those were so successful, they immediately launched into this bigger project," Anderson said.

Park City-based IBI Group has been hired as the architects. Project manager Dave Nicholas said they are aiming for LEED-certified commercial spaces, which is the top performance for environmentally green buildings.

"The primary purpose of creating community and neighborhood lends itself to homey, comfortable architecture," Nicholas said, adding the buildings will have diversity in massing and volumes, such as the 27-story condo complex. "I think one of the keys to that is when you get that far in the air, you really reveal the Wasatch Valley. You see the downtown skyline, the Great Salt Lake."

That tower will make South Salt Lake stand out, Council Chairman Casey Fitts said.

"People will be able to see portions of South Salt Lake throughout the whole valley. ... It's typically been people just driving through South Salt Lake. Now they'll see South Salt Lake," he said. "With that being the northern gateway into the city, it certainly gives the city a new face."

Demolition for Market Station will begin this winter and construction will start in the spring. Aste estimates a three- to five-year completion date. Los Angeles-based West Millennium Homes and IBI Group are also partnering on the project. All have banded together under the name UTOPIA Station Development.

South Salt Lake's City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency Board, will soon discuss using redevelopment agency (or RDA) funds. If that is approved, property tax dollars could be diverted for infrastructure costs, such as redoing the sewer system and adding street lighting.

Wednesday, the council approved a development agreement between the city and developer. That is one of the first steps in creating a RDA.

More info on Market Station can be found at: www.marketstationliving.com.

E-MAIL: astowell@desnews.com