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Dakota Pacific cuts another 32 units from Kimball Junction proposal

tech center dr landmark dr intersection colored .jpg
Connor Thomas
The proposed mixed-use development would be along Tech Center Drive in Kimball Junction. The landowner is asking to amend its development agreement with the county, which only allows office buildings.

The Summit County Council had asked for over 200 fewer. But the developer says it can build other items on the councilmembers' list.

First, a quick recap. 50 undeveloped acres next to the Skullcandy headquarters in Kimball Junction are entitled for the equivalent of 24 more Skullcandies and thousands of parking spaces.

The landowner, Dakota Pacific Real Estate, proposed a “plan B” which would bring over 1,000 units of housing and some businesses to the neighborhood instead.

It walked back the scope of that proposal after seeing elected officials’ hesitancy and current residents’ organized opposition. “Plan C” included 727 housing units and 266,000 square feet of commercial space.

Summit County and Dakota Pacific briefly exchanged blows in court last year, but now they’re working together on a solution after pausing litigation.

Two weeks ago, the county council gave the developer a counterproposal, years after it applied to build housing: 500 units, with stricter affordability requirements, plus other amenities like a park-and-ride and medical facility. Commercial square footage could stay the same.

Thursday, Feb. 22, Dakota Pacific gave a substantive response. CEO Marc Stanworth reiterated that 500 units won’t pencil.

“To figure out how we can reduce density while still making it economically viable, we've kind of squeezed all of the juice out of that lemon,” he told the council. “And that's kind of what brings us to this modified Plan C; I'm not sure what label it's going to get now.”

He said they could do 695 units. That delivers the number of affordable units councilmembers requested, just not the ratio.

Dakota Pacific’s Director of Commercial Development Steve Borup said they got to that reduced density by replacing hidden garage parking with cheaper surface parking.

Dakota Pacific cut the park too but can help build more park-and-ride spaces, senior living and medical facilities, Stanworth said.

The company said to add additional affordable units it’ll need a $2.5 million subsidy. That’s not the full amount needed, according to Borup, because the developer is taking a gamble that programs like Low Income Housing Tax Credits can offset those additional units too.

Dakota Pacific Real Estate

It’s possible the $2.5 million could come from designating the area a “housing and transit reinvestment zone,” which would temporarily divert area tax dollars toward infrastructure costs, but councilmembers want to check the Dakota Pacific’s math.

Dakota Pacific was one of a few companies involved in creating an HTRZ with South Salt Lake last year. Councilmember Chris Robinson asked to see how the subsidy was calculated there because “there's just a lot of things that are unique and different, market-to-market, place-to-place.”

After that, it could be time to put a public hearing back on the calendar.

“It's probably getting to be time where we need to put this to a question. I don't think we're there yet,” Councilmember Roger Armstrong said. “I would like to see the financial analysis. I would like to start moving some of the pieces around a bit more.”

A date for another work session hasn’t been set, but it’s likely to be in early March. That will give time for economic analysts to look at South Salt Lake’s HTRZ and compare that market to Kimball Junction.

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