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The Point looks to bring sustainability and expansion to Utah State Prison site

By Ryne Williams daily Herald - | Sep 15, 2020
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A rendering of what The Point development, on the site of the Utah State Prison in Draper, could possibly look like.

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The Utah State Prison, left foreground, stands at its current location in Draper, Utah on June 6, 2013. 

Nestled next to the Utah and Salt Lake County border, near the bustling Silicon Slopes, is the Utah State Prison in Draper. With a new correctional facility being built in Salt Lake City, the 700 acre state-owned property is a prime spot for redevelopment, and it is planned to become available in mid-2022.

Enter “The Point,” a project that has been in the works since 2016 when the new correctional facility broke ground. The vision for the property was then released in 2018.

That vision anticipates job, revenue and environmentally sustainable growth.

Fast forward to Monday, when planning efforts for the new development were launched. A release focused on the development called it, “one of the most significant economic development opportunities in Utah history.”

The Point plans to merge expansion with technology, environmental sustainability, jobs, living spaces and recreation.

“Our challenge here is to develop something that provides a place to live, work and even for entertainment and recreation,” V. Lowry Snow, Utah State representative and board co-chairman of the The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority said in a press conference. “Not just for what it will look like five years from now but potentially in the future.”

The main focus of the planning efforts announced on Monday involve a look to the future.

Lt. Gov. and Board Co-Chairman Spencer Cox spoke to that future in the press conference, saying that the development is not only a generational opportunity but a multi-generational opportunity.

He also talked about how unique the site is as a location. Seated in a rapidly-growing area, and right off the I-15 freeway, the property has plenty to offer.

“To have 700 acres situated in the middle of this growing tech corridor, situated with mass transit and in-between two freeways is certainly unique,” Cox said. “We want this to be something more than development, this is unprecedented.”

Another big concern for the development is sustainability. If the vision for the site is implemented, there will be an estimated 3.2 fewer tons of emissions per day as a result of the transportation envisioned for The Point.

The site is also estimated to decrease the miles per day driven along the Wasatch Front by 2.6 million. That estimate is with increased jobs and an increased population.

“We want this to be sustainable,” Cox said. “The biggest concern for most Utahns, especially along the Wasatch Front is sustainable growth. Can we grow in a way, as the fastest growing state in the nation, that is environmentally friendly? Can we grow in a way that doesn’t lower or diminish the quality of life that we care so much about? Can we grow in a way in that we don’t have traffic concerns? Can we grow in a way that when we add density we don’t lower the quality and standard of life? We believe that this opportunity is going to leverage innovative technology so we can show it is possible to grow and we can do so adding people but maintaining a very high standard of life.”

Renderings of The Point in one of their videos showed buses traveling above traffic, flying transportation and more sustainable energy sources, including windmills and solar energy.

The estimates for job and revenue growth as a result of the development are substantial.

The Point could bring in 150,000 additional jobs to the area, and increase the average Wasatch Front household income by $10,000 in 2050 if the vision is implemented.

As for state revenue, the site is estimated to generate $7.7 billion in state sales and personal income taxes by 2050.

The master plan for the site is expected to be developed in 2021, and that is the next step. Official are now looking for the public to lend a hand in the next step of the development.

Per The Point’s visioning phase, there have been over 4,000 comments and responses collected, more than 150 presentations given and six public workshops. There have also been community meetings with the Draper, Sandy, Lehi and Southwest Chambers of Commerce and others with transportation agencies and cities.

“This is Utah’s land,” Cox said. “This site belongs to the people of Utah, not to any one group, not to any one developer, it belongs to the people of Utah. We are working collaboratively with surrounding communities and with citizen entities across the state to make sure that everyone has a voice in what this project can become. We are so excited for that.”

The new state correctional facility is set to be completed in mid-2022 and that will mark the beginning of demolition on the site, development and possible implementation of the master plan to come.

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