City weighs in on Cottonwood Mall development

City weighs in on Cottonwood Mall development (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - The Holladay City Planning Commission met Tuesday evening to discuss Ivory Homes’ proposal to develop the 56-acre site of the old Cottonwood Mall.

The City and developers have spent the last year listening to public input on what to do with the parcel, which has been vacant since the mall closed in 2008.

Ivory Homes first wanted to develop the area into a 13-story high-density mixed-use development.

“Because the retail landscape was changing, we decided to tailor the plans,” Chris Gamvroulas, President of Ivory Homes, told 2News in a phone interview.

He also cited public opinion as a reason for scaling back the height of the development, which sits on the busy intersection of Murray—Holladay Road and Highland Drive.

Gamvroulas said they would take advantage of the reinforced north side of the property, which sits lower and build the taller retail buildings there.

“If we can push square footage up in a small area, we can keep it down elsewhere. We

Retrying to avoid 90-foot buildings that come all the way across [the Highland Drive frontage] without visual relief,” he told 2News partners at The Salt Lake Tribune.

City planners are now reviewing a proposal for about 12-percent of the property to house retail space near that wall with a maximum height of 136 feet, or about seven to eight stories.

The property’s remaining residential buildings would not exceed 90 feet in height and would be a mix of more than 1,000 apartment units, 75 townhome units, and more than 100 single-family homes.

“I think that contradicts what the residents prefer which is let’s build a life here. Let’s build a family here,” said Jenny Richards, who lives about a mile from the proposed site. “What we’re trying to promote here in Holladay is that you stay put. You put your roots down and you stay. But with over 1,000 condos, you’re not going to get that feel at all.”

Jenny and her husband Nate have lived with their four children in the home down the street from the property for more than 4 years.

“I think retail is great, but the big box stores need to stay in an industrial area, closer to a freeway,” she said. “I think smaller stores are great. It’s just recognizing the balance, recognizing the desires of the community.”

Garrett Donahue runs Wasatch Grind & Pulp, a locally owned medium sized cafe right across the street from the former Cottonwood Mall.

“I think it’s just us moving with the times,” said Donahue, who supports the revised development now on the table. “I think the more money coming in, the better for everybody.”

City planners will review traffic studies, educational and population impact, and economic impact over the next few weeks before Gamvroulas expects them to make a final vote next month.

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