City to buy and develop town center at Hillside PlazaDec 02, 2022 12:20PM ● By Cassie Goff
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
“The City of Cottonwood Heights has signed a purchase sales agreement with the intent to buy the Hillside Plaza property, located on the northeast corner of 2300 East and Fort Union Boulevard,” announced Cottonwood Heights Mayor Mike Weichers on Nov. 15.
The Hillside Plaza resides at approximately 2378 Fort Union Blvd. and is a mostly deserted area of 40,000 square feet but should be familiar to residents who have frequented the many businesses that have operated in this location over the decades. Many businesses who used to operate within the Hillside Plaza have closed their doors over the past few years including Reams, Dollar Tree, Planet Fitness, and others. Currently, only Sushi Yah, Subway, the Huddle, and Walgreens continue their operations in this location.
The Cottonwood Heights City Council made the final decision to allocate funds to purchase the property because they see an opportunity to create a place of gathering within the city. Councilmember Doug Petersen (District 1) mentioned how the property is almost at the exact center of the city.
“We believe that we have the opportunity to create a public purpose on this property,” Weichers said.
The council envisions a type of town hall for the formerly known Hillside Plaza. They would like the property to be a walkable mixed-use development with commercial shops, restaurants, and a small housing component. Specifics for the planning, development, and construction have yet to be determined.
“We intend to involve the community and look forward to their participation in deciding what becomes of this property,” Weichers said.
Weichers mentioned involving the resident group that has formed in relation to this property. The Hillside Neighborhood Resident Group formed in March 2022 after a handful of developers fought over this property in hopes of developing dense commercial properties.
The Hillside Neighborhood Resident Group also hopes to see this property developed into a type of town hall. They have suggested including community and rooftop gardens, local shops, specialized restaurants, underground parking, and an intermodal hub, among other suggestions. However, walkability is a crucial element for the resident group as the inclusion of walkable pathways is a necessity for all their development suggestions.
“It could become a destination in the city for people to walk through. It would be a total transformation,” spokesperson Randy Whitehead said on Oct. 4. “We are willing to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty to make a difference.”
The Hillside Neighborhood Resident Group currently consists of over 90 residents living within the surrounding neighborhoods of the property. They look forward to working with the city on the planning and development of this property. In addition, the city and resident group looks forward to additional residents voicing their opinions on the future of the Hillside Plaza.
The city is in the beginning stages of exercising their due diligence on the property. It is anticipated to take 120 days to execute and finalize the sale.
“We hope it will attract not only our residents but others visiting our city and those living in surrounding communities,” Weichers said.
The city is not intending to raise taxes but will instead seek a bond pledging a certain percentage of current sales tax revenue to pay for the purchase.