Thursday, September 24, 2009

South Salt Lake holds off on bond proposal

South Salt Lake holds off on bond proposal

By Rosemary Winters

The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 09/23/2009 10:05:22 PM MDT

South Salt Lake » City officials here are slowing down on a developer's request for a $9.5 million bond to speed development next to the planned Sugar House streetcar.

On Wednesday, the South Salt Lake City Council agreed to wait until an outside consultant, David Wilcox of Market & Feasibility Advisors, can study the proposal. Market Station developer Steve Aste had hoped for a decision by the end of this month.

"It's not acceptable," Aste said after the meeting. "The timelines don't work."

Aste envisions a bustling $500 million housing, shopping and office center along Main Street between 2100 South and 2300 South.

But the project has been delayed a couple of years -- Market Station celebrated a "groundbreaking" in spring 2008 but has had no major construction since then. Aste and his partners have asked the city to issue a $9.5 million bond so that the project can avoid foreclosure on nine-plus acres and buy the Skin Science building on 2100 South.

South Salt Lake Community Development Director Larry Gardner, in a memo to the City Council, said city staff is "not comfortable at this point" in recommending a bond. He noted Wilcox has, initially, expressed "skepticism" about the proposal.

The council agreed to consider the matter at its Oct. 28 meeting.

In other action, the council voted unanimously to pursue a $20,000 to $40,000 structural analysis of the four buildings
at Granite High School. The city, possibly in partnership with Salt Lake County, is interested in acquiring the shuttered, century-old campus for a community center and green space.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Trolley On KSL TV


Street car proposal closer to being a reality
August 31st, 2009 @ 5:05pm
By Richard Piatt

SUGAR HOUSE -- Sugar House is far from its potential these days. A stalled project in the heart of the neighborhood has deflated morale a bit.

But At Omar's Rawtopia restaurant---one of the few places offering nothing but raw food--there is a spark of hope at word of street cars coming to the area.

"I think it's a very good idea to have public transportation to bring people here," restaurant owner Omar Abou-Ismail said.

Salt Lake City officials are using Portland, Ore., as a guide to shape the idea for Sugar House. City officials traveled there to get a firsthand look last week.
What is… the Portland Streetcar?
Portland Streetcars began running in July, 2001. Today they run on an 8-mile continuous loop averaging close to 12,000 boardings per day. The streetcars, which carry up to 140 passengers, run approximately every 12 minutes Monday through Saturday. There are 46 stops located about every 3-4 blocks. The cars are about 8 feet wide and 66 feet long (a typical light rail car is 75 to 95 feet long). They operate as single cars, never couple into trains and are not separated from traffic or given traffic-signal priority, except for certain turns. This amounts to longer travel times. Prices run from $.95 to $2.00 outside the free far zone. Construction of a second line is due to begin soon. -Portland Streetcar
Mayor Ralph Becker says it was a valuable excursion, seeing an $80 million investment that has sparked $3 billion worth of development. He says he's glad he saw it in person.

"There's a reality that you get that is much different than you would get if you were reading it in a report," Becker said.

In Salt Lake City, the street car line would run from the TRAX station at 2100 South, east to Sugar House. The alignment is around 2225 South, near Sugarmont Avenue, and would end at Highland Avenue.

To pay for it, Salt Lake City is pushing for federal stimulus grants and to create a public-private partnership. The total cost would be between $45 million and $50 million, but the payoff could bring something greater.

"The city is making an important infrastructure development that's going to spur returns on that investment," Becker said.

"After the buildings are built and the stores are up and running, it could be back to normal; and the tracks could help bring Sugar House back to life," Abou-Ismail said.

If the city is able to get the funding together, construction could begin next year and cars could be running as soon as 2012.