A Year in Review: Economic Development

twitter-economic-development-year-one-01Early in 2016, we established a stand-alone, cabinet-level Economic Development Department – a vital step for us to leverage all of the tools we have to build our build our city’s economy. In May, our new Economic Development Director Lara Fritts joined us, and she hit the ground running.

Under Lara’s leadership, several components of economic development have been aligned to operate together within the department, including the Redevelopment Agency and the Salt Lake Arts Council. Meanwhile, we celebrated some big gains with business and employment opportunities, including:

In October, shipping and logistics giant UPS announced it would locate a large regional shipping hub in northwest Salt Lake City – and bring along 1,500 good-paying jobs. Construction is set to begin early in 2017. UPS officials credited Economic Development staff with easing the way for the project with attentive service and streamlined procedures to help seal the deal.

In November, we announced an ambitious development plan for our city’s northwest quadrant. Over the next two years, city and state agencies will plan, design and build an infrastructure backbone, as well as create an economic implementation plan for this area adjacent to I-80, Salt Lake City International Airport and the International Center.

This is a unique opportunity to build a sustainable economic engine for Salt Lake City. Because the new state prison will be located nearby, the state is committed to financing basic roads, water, sewer, gas lines, fiber-optic cabling, and lighting. This will serve as the backbone for an employment, light industrial, and manufacturing center. In the process, we will reserve 4,000 acres of open space for wildlife conservation.

No other city in the United States has 3,670 acres of developable land within 15 minutes of an international airport, major interstate highway interchanges, vibrant downtown, and national rail crossings. Salt Lake City is already the Crossroads of the West, and a prime location for an inland port, but the northwest quadrant will secure our economic place in the western half of the United States for the foreseeable future.

In late December, POST Consumer Brands, the nation’s third-largest cereal company announced plans to locate a distribution center near the Northwest Quadrant at California Avenue and 5600 West, bringing with it 100 new jobs.

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