Syracuse development could have $51 million economic impact, state official says

Friday , March 02, 2012 - 5:58 AM

Antone Clark

SYRACUSE — A new development on the city’s northeast side could generate the circulation of as much as $51 million in the area, a state economic development official claims.

Jeff Edwards, president of Economic Development Corporation Utah, said running the numbers on a proposed Ninigret Group L.C. project on 180 acres near Syracuse High School shows the proposal would do more than potentially create more than 1,000 jobs.

It would generate the circulation of millions of dollars from salaries, new retail opportunities, new tax revenue and other amenities.

Edwards was one of nine panelists asked to discuss the potential impact of the project Thursday night, at a special meeting at City Hall. The panelists addressed the potential impact of the project ranging from schools and transportation to crime.

"Is this the type of development we want to have in the community? From my perspective, one of the advantages of a project like this is it’s net revenue positive" Edwards said of the proposal.

The current Ninigret proposal includes a 155-acre job center, which could include an array of industrial, light-industrial and commercial uses. The plan also includes 25 acres of multifamily development. The project is south of the coming State Road 193 expansion project, west of 1000 West, east of 2000 West and north of 700 South.

Ninigret outlined plans for the project in November 2011 on property owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The company estimated the project could bring as many as 1,200 jobs to the region.

Even though specific site plans have not been unveiled, several residents in the region have raised concerns about the potential loss of value to their homes from the project, added congestion and the existence of more multifamily housing units.

Alan Rindlisbacher, director of corporate marketing for Layton Construction, said the project doesn’t need to negatively affect property values close to it. He pointed to a commercial project in South Jordan near high-end homes that has not negatively affected property values or traffic flow in the region. Rindlisbacher also had praise for the developer, who he says has an established reputation for good projects.

Andrew Gruber, executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, said there is a growing demand for a balance of housing options and said multifamily options are a key factor in that balance. He said balance helps give people the option to stay in a given community, rather than needing to move elsewhere, when they want to leave their single-family home.

There are more issues to consider than merely economics, said Jason Burningham, a principal with the firm of Lewis Young Robertson and Burningham, Inc.

He said the big decision revolves around planning on how to protect the interest of the community and generating the economic development of a project at the same time. Burningham said municipalities that do not plan for growth and are made up of largely single-family residential units — such as Syracuse — quickly find it is hard to maintain services, without escalating property taxes.

Kent Sulser, community and economic development director for Davis County, addressed the impact to the city, if the project does not move forward or if the existing property were left as farmland. He said the project presents what he termed an "opportunity cost," and choosing not to take the opportunity will potentially place a greater financial burden on residents for services in the future.

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