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Cottonwood Holladay Journal

Report claims Holladay Quarter would bring millions to city coffers

Jul 25, 2018 11:05AM ● By City Journals Staff

An overhead map of the proposed Holladay Quarter setup. The brown would be mixed use, yellow would be residential and orange would be a little of both. (Courtesy Ivory Homes/Woodbury Corporation)

By Lana Medina | l.medina@mycityjournals.com

The Holladay redevelopment project at the old Cottonwood Mall is expected to add thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in sales for local businesses, according to a recent economic analysis, but the project is still receiving some debate among community members.

The Holladay Quarter, a 56-acre mixed retail, restaurant and housing project, was approved by the Holladay City Council earlier this year. In a recent economic analysis report by GSBS Consulting, the project is expected to add 1,400 jobs to the local economy, and during construction alone, bring in more than $79 million in extra retail sales to the local economy.

“I think personally this will be the best development in the Salt Lake Valley,” said Michael Clark, vice president of public affairs and marketing with Ivory Homes, which is partnering along with Woodbury Corporation to develop the Holladay Quarter.

“I think Holladay has waited long enough and we’ve waited long enough to do something big here,” Clark said, referring to the old Cottonwood Mall site, which has been vacant for years.

But despite city council approval, a group of residents are protesting the Holladay Quarter project. The group Unite for Holladay say they’re in favor of a development project making use of the old site, but say they want to see more retail space that could bring in additional tax revenue to city coffers.

Brett Stohlton, a local resident, says Unite for Holladay delivered 8,000 signatures last month to Holladay City to push for a referendum protesting the proposed development.

The first referendum would ask voters to decide on the development itself, and the second referendum refers to the tax subsidies in the development agreement.

Stohlton says the $22 million tax subsidy was originally proposed in 2007 for a different project that included more retail space, but he says it’s benefitting developers in this project instead.

“You’re taking a commercial development opportunity and basically providing a subsidy, rather than pursuing an appropriate commercial development opportunity. No one else in Holladay who builds homes is getting these types of deals,” Stohlton said.

Stohlton says he also questions the economic analysis report. He says the city commissioned a report from Zion's Bank that indicated far less economic benefits to city coffers, and he worries this new report may be overinflating numbers.

The Holladay Quarter project is proposed to include nearly 1,000 housing units, including high-rise apartments, brownstone homes and other dwellings, along with eight restaurants, 20–30 retail shops and assorted office space.

Clark says the reason there isn’t more retail space is it isn’t feasible in today’s world where Amazon can deliver packages to people’s doors in a few days. Just this last year, one of the biggest toy companies in the U.S., Toys R’ Us, went out of business, and many experts believe part of the loss is due to rising Amazon sales.

Not all residents are upset about the proposed development. 

Jennifer Bell, who grew up in Holladay and is now raising her family there, says she remembers the Cottonwood Mall and has been waiting for something to replace the empty space for years.

“I think we need more living areas,” Bell said. “I don’t think in this day and age a mall is what we need back there.”

Bell says she would love for her kids to live in Holladay someday when they raise their own families, but with the housing shortage currently affecting Utah, she doesn’t see it happening right now.

“Prices are going up so high I don’t know if they would be able to live here,” she said. But with the proposed development of 985 housing units, the Holladay Quarter creates more options, she says.

If the Holladay Quarter project pushes past the referendums, Clark says they hope to break ground this fall and have some housing open by fall 2019.