Utah Valley Economic Outlook

September 9, 2013

FOTHERINGHAM: I agree with you. The branding effort is very important because up until now, we have allowed Salt Lake to define who we are by their market numbers. So we need to do it for ourselves and bypass this micro-cultural difference that exists between Salt Lake and Utah County. 

What impact has FrontRunner and the transportation corridor had? Are we seeing some positive things happening here?

GARFIELD: We still need to work on the east-west accessibility. I see some pain about that. We’re getting more travelers using FrontRunner from the airport, down. In fact, we have a large group coming in, and pretty much their whole transportation down is going to be through FrontRunner, TRAX and the airport. And a number of our employees now are using it. We’re only four blocks from the station, so it’s a relatively easy walk.

HOLMES: It will also drive different housing opportunities, higher densities in and around the FrontRunner line. It hasn’t happened yet, but you’re going to start seeing UTA pushing it. Private sector development is looking at it also. So we’ll start driving some of the different housing options that you see in more metropolitan areas with higher densities and people who don’t want to own a car. They like the mobility that public transit offers. I’m not talking riding buses, but FrontRunner, TRAX.

Are there some major commercial real estate projects under way?

FUGAL: doTERRA’s new headquarters is under construction in Pleasant Grove, and Henry Schein’s expansion, a new, four-story building that broke ground several weeks ago in American Fork. Additional buildings at Thanksgiving Park are now being completed; these will be headquarters for companies like DigiCert, Boostability—even Kirton McConkie’s Utah County’s presence has made a commitment there. Xactware’s campus is under construction in Traverse Mountain.

HOLMES: In Provo, we’re approaching half a billion dollars of investment in the last 18 months under permit. Look at what’s going on at BYU, Nu Skin, the LDS temple, and then projects completed at the rec center, this facility.

There will be two housing projects in downtown Provo. It’s pretty impressive. We’re not City Creek, but compared to our size community and what’s happening up there, it’s just an unprecedented number of permits and evaluations in downtown Provo. And that’s not including what’s happening in Riverwoods or the Vivint project coming up.

HUNT: There’s another sector of the commercial market that doesn’t get much attention, but in the coming years it will get a lot of attention, and that is living and assisted care facilities. There’s several under construction right now, one on Center Street in Orem that’s a pretty significant facility. One was just completed in American Fork last year. In talking to people that operate in that industry, there is no end in sight of the demand for that type of facility and that type of atmosphere for our aging population.

Utah Valley is an attractive place for people who are approaching that age to stay, and also people who may have grown up here or have ties to this community.  

SIMONSEN: One that’s a little ways away but will be a factor in the future is the Anderson Geneva development. You’re seeing some housing start to move north into that area. If you look at the master plan, there’s a lot of commercial, there’s a lot of high-density residential going in there along the FrontRunner road.  

We anticipate 25,000 people living in that area when it’s all built out.

LOCKHART: Micron is developing some property next to IM Flash, about 1,800 acres. It’s going to be significant as well. In fact, we’ve been told recently that the SR-82 corridor is the hottest technology corridor in the country right now. Thirty percent of the job growth in the last 12 months occurred on both sides of the Point of the Mountain.

FUGAL: All the headlines are coming from Utah County. They’re not Salt Lake Valley companies. It’s Vivint, it’s Qualtrics, it’s MoneyDesktop. A lot of people in the Salt Lake Valley want to know how to bottle what’s happening in Utah County.  

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