After nearly nine months of delays, developers are finally set to break ground on the 11-acre Canyon Centre development, located at about 7200 South Wasatch Blvd. on the old Canyon Racquet Club property.
City planners expect construction to be complete in 12-18 months.
“Once the approval for phase two happens, the developers are on the clock because they’ve signed leases with different tenants. I envision seeing everything going at once due to the delays,” Cottonwood Heights Development Director Brian Berndt said.
A conceptual design of the Canyon Centre master plan indicates that the new development will include offices, restaurants, retail space and housing components on the site of the former Canyon Racquet Club.
Last June, CH Voters, a group of residents concerned with potential impacts from planning commission and city council decisions, filed a lawsuit in Third District Court appealing a decision by the city’s Board of Adjustments. The BOA ruling said the planning commission did not act arbitrarily when approving the master site plan and conditional use permits for the property. CH Voters disagreed.
On Dec. 2, Judge Richard D. McKelvie issued a summary judgment upholding the BOA decision.
“The appeal was denied on the basis that the city had already committed to deal with the issues that were raised [in the lawsuit] as the project proceeds,” City Attorney Shane Topham said.
CH Voters argued primarily that the city ignored a sensitive lands zoning overlay on the property.
Berndt explained that while part of the property sits within the current sensitive lands overlay zone, that doesn’t mean the entire area contains sensitive lands. Geotechnical analysis identified two faults on the property that the city and the developers intend to address according to code requirements.
With proposed changes to the sensitive lands ordinance and an application for phase two of the property set to come before the planning commission early in the year, Mark Machilis, CH Voters spokesman, said he now stands in full support of the development.
“We understand that in the big picture of planning, the new sensitive lands ordinance is a positive step forward because it’s much more detailed in its definition of sensitive lands than the old system,” he said. “CH Voters surprised the commission and said we think [phase two] is cool.”
The completed project will include a 65,000-sq.-ft. office building, a hotel, retail space, a restaurant with a distillery, a condominium complex and 17 units of single-family housing. Public parking is a key component of the development, said Chris McCandless, Canyon Centre Capital spokesman.
“We’ll have approximately 550 stalls of parking for public use on nights, weekends and holidays that will alleviate some of the parking crunch at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon,” he said.