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Massive Point of the Mountain project set to replace Utah State Prison

The Point - Point of the Mountain
Posted at 2:56 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 19:44:12-04

DRAPER, Utah  — The entity in charge of developing the land at Point of the Mountain is moving forward with plans for a massive mixed-use concept of housing, business, entertainment and open space.

PHOTOS: Point of the Mountain mixed-use project concept art

"The Point," as it's been named, will take the 608-acres of state-owned land where the Utah State Prison sits now and develop it. On Tuesday, the Point of the Mountain State Land Authority unanimously voted to approve a framework plan for the site.

"Geographically, it’s large. It is large in terms of its impact on the state," said Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, who chairs the Point of the Mountain State Land Authority.

The prison will move next year, opening the land at Point of the Mountain for development. Over the course of dozens of public meetings and feedback, the plan has developed for "The Point." It is almost like building a new city from scratch.

"We’re building this community not just for today, but tomorrow," said Alan Matheson, the land authority's executive director. "We want it to be relevant and cutting edge for generations."

When legislation was introduced in 2018 to develop the prison site, it was envisioned as an extension of "Silicon Slopes," the nickname for the tech sites that are along I-15 in Utah and Salt Lake counties. But as the public weighed in, plans were changed, Rep. Snow said.

"We have broader latitude to meet those objectives that were given to us by the public. For example, open space," he told FOX 13.

More than 100 acres of land has been set aside for parks and recreation areas. There will be a large "central park" in the middle of the development. There are more bike paths and walking paths throughout the development.

"This idea of a 15-minute community which is a new concept in urban planning which really emphasizes the idea you can meet all your daily needs within a 15-minute bike ride or 15-minute walk," said Peter Kindel with the planning firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.

Draper Mayor Troy Walker touted transit options, declaring in the meeting that "cars are no longer king." The designs call for more bus-rapid transit, a potential Frontrunner line and even autonomous vehicles.

"We can’t have everyone that lives in this area and works in this area drive to this area," he told FOX 13. "That won’t work. So we’ve designed sort-of transit centered and inside it? Circulators, either pedestrian, active transportation, perhaps autonomous vehicles."

The project will have a mix of housing, including single-family homes. There will be entertainment districts, retail and office. Space has been set aside for a high school and a college-level "innovation center." Mayor Walker told FOX 13 that he would like to see a major-league sports stadium built on the site.

"We have a spot we could go to Major League Baseball or the NFL or whoever and say, 'Look where you can go here, look at everything you’re connected to.' It’s got transit in, I think it has great potential," he said.

Utah's drought emergency has forced planners to focus on xeriscaping and water savings, Kindel said. The land authority has pushed for a more sustainable development in response to public feedback.

"We expect this development can be a model of sustainability for other developers," Matheson said. "We want to show how we can develop in ways that respect the natural environment we have, we use our limited water resources better, that protect our air quality better."

The project could potentially cost billions. The state owns the land and cities would likely contribute to infrastructure improvements. The Point will soon open up bids for private developers.

More public meetings are planned for the development. The next one for The Point will be Thursday, August 12 from 4-7pm at the Fred House Training Academy, 14727 Minuteman Dr. in Draper.