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Draper Journal

Connectivity, including connection to nature, is paramount in plans for The Point

Dec 02, 2022 12:37PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

Progress is happening at The Point, the former prison site in its infancy of becoming an ultra-modern development. Officials announced that the Utah Division of Facilities and Construction is running ahead of schedule on site abatement, the first step toward demolition. In December, the Phase 1 development partner will present refined plans to The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority.

“This is getting more and more real. Rather than a place where people are constrained, it’s going to be a place of new opportunity…and change life for the better for the people of the state,” said Alan Matheson, The Point’s executive director.

Innovation Point Partners (IPP), the Phase 1 development partner, is a team of three firms: the Lincoln Property Company headquartered in Dallas, Texas and local partners Colmena Group and Wadsworth Development Group. According to The Point officials, the IPP team has experience building large-scale, sustainable communities and innovative, mixed-use projects.

Though they couldn’t share specifics prior to the December Land Authority meeting, Matheson and IPP spokesperson Abbey Ehman spoke in general terms about refinements to the plan.  Ehman is based in Los Angeles, but she previously lived in Utah.

Phase 1 development focuses on Main Street, the central park, and creating a 15-minute city that supports all forms of mobility including pedestrians, vehicles, cyclists and transit. Ehman was highly complimentary of the framework plan already created for The Point with public input from Utahns. “Never before have we seen such an effort…it’s a credit to Utah,” she said. The IPP team is working with that existing framework plan to further refine and enhance it.

“The adaptations are enhancing connectivity, vibrancy and a strong sense of place. This is our opportunity to build a new downtown in Utah…we’re very thoughtful on building types, the pedestrian experience…economic investment driving jobs, and thinking about how that all exists together. The signature element is the recreation space, the commitment to the outdoors and nature that makes it a Utah project. We’re making sure we have places of respite, places we tie into the trail network…we heard the desire to be connected to nature. Market conditions have informed our process, but connectivity to outdoors is the big shift we’ve seen through the pandemic. People want readily accessible outdoor space,” Ehman said.

Matheson indicated these revisions better tie the central park to the River to Range trail and offer new connectivity elements to help people get around the site without ever getting on the road.

Ehman called the Main Street “the heart of our first phase” and said there will be “a keen focus on local businesses.” It will be pedestrian-focused with a mix of local and national shops and restaurants that spill out onto a promenade.

“We as a firm are so excited about Utah, specifically the demographic, the economic growth, the quality of life, this amazing canvas, and all the work that came before us to make this a preeminent development. There really is no better infill opportunity in the western U.S. because of the location between two population centers. And with the good work that’s come before us on transit and infrastructure, we’re excited to focus our efforts here,” Ehman said.