November 4, 2008 — The University of Utah has selected Inland American Communities Group, Inc. as the prime developer to construct the campus’s new Universe Project. The firm will work with the university to plan and construct the proposed innovative, mixed-use, transit-oriented project.
Inland American Communities, with offices in Dallas, Tempe and Atlanta, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Inland American Real Estate Trust of Oak Brook, Illinois, and focuses on community building in university and urban infill environments nationwide. Michael G. Perez, associate vice president for facilities management at the University of Utah made the official announcement. “We are excited for the opportunity to provide the university and Salt Lake City with an energizing hub at the edge of campus while continuing our effort to promote sustainable practices by implementing this transit-oriented development.”
The project site is located at a 7.9-acre parking lot west of the university’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, located adjacent to the existing UTA TRAX light rail station. The Universe Project is envisioned as a vibrant campus center that will contribute positively to the surrounding community. Proposed uses include university continuing education and student recruitment offices, on-site housing, public/student parking, and retail stores.
In light of the innovative nature of the project and location on campus, the university has invited discussion and input from its neighbors and the city. Ross Robb, the managing director of the Universe Project for Inland American Communities says, “our development team looks forward to working with stakeholders both from within the university community and beyond to create a dynamic and unique place that everyone can look upon with pride.”
The goals for the Universe Project include:
- Provide amenities that will attract outstanding students, exceptional faculty, neighbors, and visitors from the Salt Lake area and beyond
- Create an exciting and vibrant experience for patrons coming to the university, both for scheduled events and general visits
- Take advantage of the mass transit opportunities made available through the TRAX rail system
- Establish a compatible and stronger connection between the university campus and neighborhood communities
- Stimulate high quality development of the western edge of campus as an entry portal onto the University of Utah campus and a gateway to Salt Lake City
- Engage the community and weave the interests of the university into the fabric of the local community
- Enhance the appearance and functional use of the proposed site without detracting from or reducing the current functional aspects of the area, namely parking
Questions from the public regarding this project should be directed to: Deborah Alto, University of Utah Campus Design and Construction – CDC@fm.Utah.edu.