SOUTH SALT LAKE — Within a week, demolition could begin on 18 acres of dilapidated buildings and hundreds of square feet of unappealing pavement that sits between Main Street and State Street near 2100 South.

A year and a half from now, the area will be transformed into the beginnings of a project that will change the fundamental character of South Salt Lake, said project developer Steve Aste.

The Market Station development will boast a 27-story condominium building and 18 other buildings that will house additional owner-occupied housing units, prime office space and retail capacity.

Tying the project together will be a streetcar line that will connect to the Sugar House neighborhood and light rail lines, to be built within the next five years. The development will be community-centered and is planned to be pedestrian-friendly, providing everything from an urban grocery store to a dry cleaning shop and a hotel within yards of residences, according to draft plans obtained by the Deseret Morning News.

"This is taking an area in a very good location and transforming it into something unique and beautiful," Aste said. The Utah developer has been working on the project for the past four years.

The city of South Salt Lake has been a proponent of the project for years and sees it as a way to bring new businesses, new customers and vitality to the city.

In fact, the city will allow half the sales tax generated by the project to go back toward its development for 15 years. It has also created a redevelopment agency, which has decided to allow the project to retain 75 percent of its property taxes over the next 15 years as soon as the land value in the project area appreciates above 2007 levels.

Altogether the $500 million project is expected to retain $25 million it would have paid in property taxes to the city, county, school district and other special tax entities. The project is expected to retain about $1.6 million it would have paid to the city in sales taxes, not accounting for inflation.

Asbestos abatement is expected to begin this week, to be followed within a few months by bulldozers and wrecking balls. In 18 months, the first residences will be ready for move-in, Aste said. The entire project will be completed in phases and could take years to complete.

"Our project's a go," City Council member John Weaver told six other council members during a meeting Tuesday. "There are some new additional details that need to be hammered out, but no one can say now."

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