WEST VALLEY CITY — Some developers would have considered putting off launching a $300 million industrial park — slated to be the largest of its kind in the region — because of the downturn in the economy.

Yet Argent Group managing partner and project developer David Layton said Thursday was the "perfect" day to host a ceremonial groundbreaking of 201 Commerce Center, a 115-acre office and industrial project in West Valley City.

"We're in a circumstance today where maybe our economy is not as favorable as some would like," Layton said. "We're going forward, maybe at a time when others are fearful ... But we believe our economy here is vibrant. We believe this part of our country will continue to be strong and active."

The 201 Commerce Center is touted as the largest light-industrial and manufacturing office park to come to the Intermountain West, with 29 buildings and 1.8 million square feet of commercial space. The project is expected to be finished over the next 10 years, and at completion, developers say the space will create up to 4,000 new jobs.

Local company Quartzdyne has signed on with the development as its first tenant, and other industrial and manufacturing companies are expected to follow, said Tom Dischmann, vice president of CB Richard Ellis, the real-estate company overseeing the leasing at the park.

"From a market perspective, for the tenants we're targeting, the timing couldn't be better for this office park," Dischmann said. "Currently, with the market today, you only have less than 70,000 feet of buildings that can accommodate tenants of this size range, so the demand is increasing, and the rent is increasing at the same time."

The center's 29 buildings will be divided into areas ranging from 35,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet for small- to medium-sized businesses, with individual office sizes starting at 4,800 square feet. The center will be located near Bangerter Highway and 2400 South, near Interstate 215, the airport and across the street from a golf course.

"There is no better place in the entire U.S. for a project like this to happen," said Jason Perry, director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. "The state of Utah is perfectly poised to be just a little greedy in our opportunities, and this is the best time to be looking for this kind of expansion."

The 201 Commerce Center project is part of a 233-acre economic development area created earlier this year by West Valley City, Granite School District, Salt Lake County and other taxing entities. Over the next 15 years, $34.8 million created by property-tax increases in the area will be pumped back into the project.

West Valley City has seen a number of developers over the years attempt to develop the land, but it wasn't until the economic development area was formed that The Argent Group was successful in purchasing the land and plans went forward.

West Valley City sees the project as a major employment center that will benefit the whole Salt Lake Valley, not just the city. Nevertheless, Mayor Dennis Nordfelt said he's glad to welcome the project to West Valley.

"This is the kind of growth that benefits the citizens," Nordfelt said. "This is a positive thing — you just know it's going to succeed."


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