The new office building at North Temple marks the beginning of a comprehensive transformation of the district

Rocky Mountain Power is poised to construct a Liberty Park-sized development across the street from Utah State Fairpark.

(Rocky Mountain Power, above Salt Lake City) A first aerial view of Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed new office and operations center to be built at approximately 1275 W. North Temple along the Jordan River.

Rocky Mountain Power is preparing to develop nearly 100 acres along North Temple in a way that could transform Utah’s capital, but city officials feared Wednesday they haven’t seen the full plan.

The Company would like to rededicate 5.5 acres at approximately 1275 W. North Temple along the Jordan River to build a new headquarters, operations center and parking garage, but this is only a start.

The utility has big ambitions to create a premier, transit-centric community on the remainder of the largely industrial strip it owns, stretching from its proposed headquarters along the North Temple light rail corridor over an area roughly the size of Liberty Park extends.

(Rocky Mountain Power, above Salt Lake City) An early depiction of Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed new office and operations center (right) to be built at about 1275 W. North Temple along the Jordan River.

The Power Station District, as it’s called, is envisioned as a sort of mini-city, judging from initial blueprints unveiled on Wednesday. The plan is to expand the offices in phases, Rocky Mountain Power said, to bring many walk-in apartments and commercial developments to this fast-growing West Side section and allow access to two TRAX stations.

Details of the new district emerge as the North Temple Corridor explodes with new housing construction, accelerated largely by federal tax breaks. There are also plans for a major mixed-use overhaul at the Utah State Fairpark, across from this location.

The Planning Commission recommended that the City Council approve Rocky Mountain Power’s rezoning application, but not without grilling from members about how the larger development is likely to unfold.

(Rocky Mountain Power, above Salt Lake City) A first aerial view of Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed new office and operations center to be built at approximately 1275 W. North Temple along the Jordan River.

Melissa Jensen of Giv Group, a Salt Lake City firm that represents the utility, said she sees herself as a “catalytic player in commercial, retail and pedestrian space” and wants to “create an area that’s pedestrian-centric.” and honors Jordan.”

“They want to build a high-performing building and make sure that with further developments on the site, they will do that,” Jensen said. Some of the land could be sold over time, she added, “but ultimately you have a steward here who will work a very long time.”

The district would take a decade or more to build, and the company said it is now under immediate pressure from utility authorities to get the new operations center up and running.

“For the resiliency of the grid and the viability of the system as a whole,” said Mario Costanzo, senior project manager at Rocky Mountain Power, “this building has to come in.”

The company therefore wants the first rezoning to begin and is asking the city to convert these 5.5 hectares from light industry to dedicated mass transit uses, primarily to allow for more height and density in the office complex and adjacent buildings and create more green space along the Jordan.

(Rocky Mountain Power, via Salt Lake City) A site plan for Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed new office and operations center to be built at approximately 1275 W. North Temple along the Jordan River.

The plan for this first phase, according to Susan Petheram, a lead planner at FFKR Architects, is to locate the new office complex well south of the North Temple’s facade to make room for future traffic-oriented housing and other structures closer to the road. But after nearly 20 months of work, Rocky Mountain Power officials admitted Wednesday they have yet to complete a larger master vision for the rest of the country to share.

“It’s just hard for me to really understand the big picture without seeing the whole master plan,” said Mike Christensen, member of the planning committee. He noted that other city plans recognize how several major east-west thoroughfares such as South Temple appear to be disappearing in this neighborhood.

“You lose the street grid, and it basically kills walkability,” Christensen said. “So I really wish there was a plan that showed how that would be restored in this area.”

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Property that Rocky Mountain Power plans to rezone along North Temple and west of the Jordan River pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2022. The power company plans to build a new corporate headquarters in “an opening development” in its strategy to redevelop 100 acres it owns there to create what it calls the Power District campus.

Others noted that Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed zoning does not specifically require the construction of housing, although planners at FFKR said the designs include many housing structures.

There has also been no mention of coordinating the utility company’s proposed refresh for that stretch of the Jordan when it builds headquarters with a new design for the river recently released by the Jordan River Commission, its executive director Søren Simonsen said.

The city, Simonsen noted, is a signatory to this draft, and the commission is offering its expertise to Rocky Mountain Power. Other developments in the area, he said, “have made us a little nervous that we’re not really looking at the river as community building and connecting threads, or really considering it beyond the confines of each property owner.”

Jensen said Rocky Mountain Power could not hold off the push to build the new headquarters to accommodate the results of additional planning, which she assured the commission was underway. “There is a lot of room for discussion about the master plan and we don’t want to waste it,” she said, promising to provide additional information “if necessary”.

But regarding the zone change, she added: “We are not in a position to extend the schedule.”

(Rocky Mountain Power, via Salt Lake City) A location map of Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed property adjacent to the Jordan River to build a new zone to accommodate a new headquarters, operations center and parking garage near 1275 W. North Temple in Salt Lake can build city.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/09/30/new-office-building-north-temple/ The new office building at North Temple marks the beginning of a comprehensive transformation of the district

Justin Scacco

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