July 2, 2012

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Built to Lead

Perhaps no Utah governor in modern memory comes to the office with a broad...Read More

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Article

Under Construction

A Robust Economy Spurs Development across the State

John Coon

July 2, 2012

Benefits of this plan are numerous. It will mean improved air quality as a result of reduced traffic congestion, and the preservation of open space and a reduction in water usage. This means a vibrant, walkable community where residents have gathering places for community events and more choices for where they live, work, shop and play. It also means savings of billions of dollars for cities in Utah and the State of Utah itself.

Managing urban growth in this manner increases the quality of life for the residents involved and convinces companies outside the state to take a chance on investing in Utah. That is one reason why commercial real estate sales are booming here at a time when they are lagging in many other places.

“In some respects, the expansion of office and retail markets in other cities is a very good thing,” Bouchard says. “It lightens the travel distances and the uses of our roads. It creates more of a community setting where you don't always have to drive great distances for services. As we grow and develop as a State, it's just the natural order of things that occur."

All the Right Pieces
The region encompassing southern Salt Lake County and northern Utah County is poised to be an epicenter for commercial real estate growth over the next decade.

Plans are underway for the National Security Agency to build a massive new data center at Camp Williams. Ground broke on the site in January, and the construction phase is expected to add up to 10,000 new jobs to the local economy.

Further south in Lehi, Adobe is expanding its operations in Utah with a new technology campus currently under construction. The new Adobe campus is expected to create 1,000 new jobs in Utah following the initial expansion phase, with capacity to add 600 more jobs through later expansion. It is projected to create more than $1.6 billion in new State wages and more than $134 billion in new State revenue over the next 20 years.

The ease of doing business in the Beehive State convinced the technology giant to set up shop here—and it didn’t hurt that Adobe is eligible to receive tax-based post-performance incentives from Lehi and the State of Utah that are worth nearly $60 million over a 20-year period.

When Adobe announced its expansion plans in 2010, the company cited Utah's vibrant communities, skilled talent base and business-friendly environment as the major factors in its decision. This business-friendly attitude puts Utah over the top when combined with other advantages the State offers in the areas of geography, education and transportation.

“The climate here is good,” says Stephen Bogden, Managing Director and Principal Broker for Coldwell Banker Commercial. “The employment here is good. The distribution here is good. Access in and out is good. The State works hard for businesses.”

Southern Utah has similarly experienced an influx of new companies expanding into the State. Litehouse Foods, a food manufacturer based in Idaho, chose to build a new facility in Hurricane after deciding it needed a southwestern location to gain greater access to regional markets. The town offered a convenient location near Interstate 15 and room to grow—factors that persuaded Litehouse Foods to choose Hurricane over similar sites under consideration in California, Arizona and Nevada.

"We're positioned pretty well there,” says Jim Frank, President and CEO of Litehouse Foods. “That's actually a benefit of the site we selected in Hurricane. It has us positioned for future growth and expansion right in that facility and on that parcel of land. We're ready to keep expanding for some time before we reach capacity in that area."

The boom is also being felt in Northern Utah. Janicki Industries built a 100,000-square-foot, $19.5 million manufacturing facility near Hill Air Force Base in Layton in 2011. The Sedro-Woolley, Wash.-based firm is manufacturing components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter using two proprietary Janicki five-axis mills, with a third coming online in late summer. The large-scale, high-precision mills have produced more than 250 parts for the F-35 program since the Utah plant’s opening in August 2011.

These developments are not done on an island. What benefits an individual town or city benefits the entire State as it pushes forward to establish itself as a leader in national and international business.

"You can't look at it on a city-by-city scope anymore,” Oliver says. “We don't work that way. It's just not feasible. For older cities, it's almost unsustainable in the revenue stream. It needs to be a different perspective and that perspective is: we are a community, let's build as a community."

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