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South Salt Lake to build its own downtown

South Salt Lake to build its own downtown (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) There will be a there, there.

South Salt Lake is aiming to grow bigger and taller -- and create something the city has been lacking -- a downtown.

"Oh we're really excited," said Mike Florence, the city's community and economic development director. "This is an area where we believe people will want to be."

Florence's job is to attract businesses to the community, which for many, is a drive-by experience from Salt Lake City to points south.

But he's apparently been able to convince some developers to put down footings, and build a foundation for a downtown, "with the potential to generate up to 20,000 new jobs," according to a news release.

City council members passed a new zoning ordinance this week to accommodate growth in the area of 2100 South to Interstate 80, and State Street to 400 West, an area that has some businesses now, but pockets of undeveloped land too.

Florence said it will include commercial, office, retail and residential features -- and while the plan is envisioned to stretch for 30 years, changes will be noticeable soon. Roughly 1,000 housing units will under construction by this summer, he said.

Plans are to build near mass transit; the city has both Trax and streetcar lines. It's projected the project could generate up to 20,000 new jobs; and it terms of building, the sky could be the limit.

2News asked if someone wanted to build a 20, 30, even 60 story high rise, could they do it?

"They could do it, yes," replies Florence.

To be sure, the city has had development misfires. There was a plan to build high rises in the same general area years ago -- a plan that went bust. And the city has struggled to turn the old Granite High School into something new.

In addition, South Salt Lake will face competition, perhaps most profoundly from Draper, where once the old state prison is torn down, development could flood the site.

Still, said Florence, "With the amount of people that will be moving to Utah over the next 30 years...I see there will be a need for this."

Follow Brian Mullahy on Twitter @BMullahy2News for breaking news, updates and more.

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