The Utah Transit Authority broke ground yesterday on its first Transit Orientated Development (TOD) in Sandy near the 10000 South TRAX station. The $46 million first phase of the project, called East Village, includes a 271 unit apartment complex.
“The building of transit-oriented development is just one way the Wasatch Front can prepare for future growth,” said UTA President Michael Allegra. “The combination of residential, retail and commercial properties with transit helps air quality, population growth and generally makes life better for those that live here.
East Village will be built in four phases which will eventually total over 1.4 million square feet of development. The project is being built as a partnership between UTA and Hamilton Partners. The development sits on land purchased for UTA’s first TRAX line with help from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, a grant program funding large capital transit investments.
Attendees at the groundbreaking included: United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Utah State Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, Sandy City Mayor Tom Dolan and UTA President/CEO Michael Allegra.
East Village is intended in to increase ridership on the Blue TRAX line while also generating revenue for UTA. The site was one of six sites selected as a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Catalytic Site for planning studies as part of the creation of a new downtown in Sandy.
Downtown Sandy is currently more office park than downtown as the area is dominated by surface parking lots surrounding city hall and other buildings in the vicinity. Before the Great Recession hit, the city of Sandy had ambitious plans for its downtown. Plans for the Proscenium, a proposed mixed-use project that included a large broadway-style theater and residential and commercial towers up to 40-floors, fell through and the city began to plan for a more modest downtown.
According to UTA, the 10000 South TRAX light rail station at The East Village will be linked through the area to a nearby FrontRunner Commuter rail stop via a downtown circulator.
UTA faced criticism for its handling of its financing and relationships with developers in a scathing state audit released last month. The transit agency promised to implement all the recommendations from the audit. In an attempt to restore public trust, UTA board members elected former LDS Church Presiding Bishop H. David Burton as the agencies new chairman and voted to reduce controversial bonuses awarded to UTA management.