UTA moves forward with plans for new downtown TRAX station

Station at 650 S. Main Street should be completed in a year, a new deal with Salt Lake City says.

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) A TRAX train passes a new development at 650 S. Main Street on Dec. 8. The Utah Transit Authority has a approved a contract with Salt Lake City to proceed with building a new TRAX station at the location with the help of donations from developers with big projects in the neighborhood.

A new TRAX station in downtown Salt Lake City should be completed by the end of 2021, according to an agreement the Utah Transit Authority Board approved Wednesday with Salt Lake City.

Terms say construction of that station at 650 S. Main Street should begin by July, and be finished no later than Dec. 15, 2021.

UTA and the city in April approved a $300,000 contract to design the station. The latest agreement is for the city’s Redevelopment Agency to cover the $2 million in construction costs, with the lion’s share of that coming from developers of new projects nearby.

The station, which will be two blocks south of the Courthouse Station and four blocks from a station at 900 S. 200 West, was part of the original 1997 plans for the north-south TRAX line through downtown that was built before the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Rails were laid in a way to allow the station, but it remained on hold for decades while UTA waited for nearby properties to be developed to create a demand for it.

Andrea Pullos, UTA project manager, told the board that is finally happening. Salt Lake City reports that at least five major office and residential projects proposed or underway nearby.

And recognizing the financial potential of thousands of TRAX passengers flowing through the area daily, the city has said that developers appear willing to pay up to $1.36 million to make the station happen.

Examples of new developments include that Patrinely Group, headquartered in Houston, is putting up a 10-story office tower it has dubbed “650 Main” on that southwest corner of Main Street and 600 South, with 320,000 square feet of new space.

The Salt Lake City-based Lowe Property Group is building an upscale 170-unit apartment complex at 611 S. Main. It also is a development partner in a blockwide $144 million residential and commercial project known as the Post District, located around 500 South and 600 South between 300 West and 400 West.

PEG Cos., headquartered in Provo, has broken ground on an apartment complex called “SevenO2 Main,” at 702 S. Main, with up to 241 high-end apartments and a sizable parking structure.

Two Utah companies, Colmena Group and Kimball Investments, are pressing plans for a large apartment development called “The Jetty,” with an initial phase to be anchored at 800 South and State Street.

UTA Board Chairman Carlton Christensen noted that when he became a member of the Salt Lake City Council in 1997, city officials then talked about how that station was expected “imminently” — so he’s happy to see it finally come more than 20 years later.