SANDY — Walking through the construction zone of East Village in south suburban Sandy, there is the distinct outline of what will become the area's first transit-oriented development.
Built with the Sandy Civic Center TRAX station as its hub, the project will incorporate urban living with elements of walkability and public transit that includes commercial and retail components spread over 32 acres.
The Utah Transit Authority board of trustees toured the site on Wednesday as part of its monthly meeting.
East Village will incorporate 271 high-end apartment units, with a swimming pool, common areas including a party room and kitchen, fitness center and a community garden.
Situated near downtown Sandy, the $300 million project is one of 11 transit-oriented development projects along the Wasatch Front, said Paul Drake, UTA manager of transit-oriented development.
“We want people to be able to work, shop and play here and not be forced to have a car,” he said. “They could access our entire (transit) network without driving at all.”
Drake added that with more projects like East Village in the development stage, the agency hopes to mitigate the long-term traffic flow and environmental issues facing the Salt Lake Valley.
“More and more of these communities will help to reduce traffic congestion, and that improves air quality,” he said.
The first phase of residential units is scheduled for occupancy in mid-April, according to Bruce Bingham, partner of the Salt Lake City office of Chicago-based real estate developer Hamilton Partners.
Over the ensuing two months, two other buildings will begin taking in residents, he added.
“The first building is scheduled to come online on April 15, the next one in 30 days after that and the third one in 60 days after that,” Bingham said.
The commercial components of the project are also being completed in phases, he said. Currently, one office building is already up and running with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services occupying all of its four floors of space.
In all, the project is expected to include about 500,000 square feet of office, commercial and small retail space, Bingham said.
Completion of the entire development will take five to 10 years, he noted.
The UTA project is just east of two other major renewal efforts currently underway in Sandy.
The redevelopment of the recently renamed Shops at South Town is part of the Cairns, Sandy's 1,100-acre city center “mountain meets urban” project. A cairn is a man-made pile of stones indicating someone is headed in the right direction.
The project from 9000 South to 11400 South and I-15 to near State Street will connect mountain adventures with urban living, explained Sandy communications director Nicole Martin.
The Cairns will also feature new apartments along with condominiums, restaurants, office space and new retail space, in addition to the multimillion-dollar mall renovation.
The two projects are part of long-range master plan that will address the needs of the growing population of the south valley in a different way than previously, said James Sorenson, assistant community development director for Sandy.
He said more people are choosing to live in higher-density housing, such as apartments or condos rather than a traditional single-family house. Additionally, public transit is becoming more prevalent as fewer people desire to get behind the wheel to commute — all of which indicates a major shift in how area residents will want to live their lives in the coming years, he said.
Active UTA transit-oriented development projects
1. Ogden Intermodal Center
2. Farmington Station
3. Clearfield Station
4. North Temple Station
5. Salt Lake Central
6. 1300 South Ballpark
7. 3900 South Meadowbrook
8. Jordan Valley Station
9. Sandy Civic Center Station
10. South Jordan Station
11. Provo Intermodal Center
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