Monday , October 09, 2017 - 6:14 PM
CLEARFIELD — A Swiss train manufacturing company that had eyed Clearfield as potential location for a new plant that’s to create as many as 1,000 jobs has selected a site in Salt Lake City instead.
Stadler Rail sent out a media invite Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony for its new planned Utah plant and the location sits west of Salt Lake City International Airport, at 150 South 5600 West. The ceremony, which will tentatively feature comments from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, is set for Friday.
“It is a disappointment,” said Clearfield Assistant City Manager J.J. Allen, part of the team of Clearfield and Davis County officials that had tried to lure Stadler to a site near the Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner station in Clearfield. “We had high hopes for that project.”
Stadler officials didn’t offer any additional comment Monday, but Allen — informed of the decision about 10 days ago — said land availability was the main factor in the decision to go with Salt Lake City.
“The main factor, above all else — availability of land,” Allen said. Stadler has more potential land around the airport than what would be available in Clearfield to develop its plans.
Stadler plans to build a new facility in Utah to comply with a $551 million contract to build commuter trains for Caltrain, the commuter rail system linking San Jose and San Francisco in northern California. It also hopes to explore other contracts in the United States and plans to employ up to 1,000 people at the Utah plant in years to come.
All along, Stadler officials had said Clearfield was only a potential location. That came into clearer public focus last July after Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell drew fire from many for a proposal he helped promote to lure Stadler to a location near the Ogden Nature Center. The proposal was later scuttled, but Allen acknowledged at the time that a site near the Salt Lake City airport was another contender for the Stadler plant.
Clearfield had proposed construction of the Stadler plant on 28.5 acres of UTA land adjacent to the city’s FrontRunner station. That required clearance from the UTA Board of Trustees — Clearfield proposed buying the property from UTA and then re-selling it to Stadler — and prompted intense debate over the summer before UTA officials agreed to the plan.
Now, Clearfield and UTA officials will have to revisit how to develop the land around the Clearfield station, still in UTA hands. To that end, Allen said a Clearfield City Council work session is set for Oct. 17 to discuss alternatives for the property moving forward.
Like land around other FrontRunner stations, the Clearfield property, before the FrontRunner plans emerged, had been a transit-oriented development, or TOD, property. More specifically, it was earmarked for development meant to bolster UTA ridership.
Sign up for e-mail news updates.