Adobe expanding in Lehi

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LEHI — Following its announcement in October 2010, Adobe began building an extension of its business in Lehi, expected to create 1,000 jobs and open late this year. Motorists on I-15 at Point of the Mountain are likely to recognize the unique architecture of Adobe’s building under construction.

Utah’s growing amount of technology-based businesses contribute to what is known as Silicon Slopes, an area which includes businesses from as far north as Logan and all the way down to Nephi.  IM Flash Technologies and Microsoft are two already established companies Adobe will join in Lehi.

Lehi Mayor Bert Wilson represented his city by stating he was happy with Adobe’s expansion and the possibilities it may hold for the city’s economy.

“Lehi City is very pleased to welcome Adobe to our community’s growing technology base,” Wilson said in a news release. “The State of Utah and Lehi City have positioned themselves well to serve as a destination for some of the world’s technology giants and Adobe’s new Lehi campus represents a significant addition to our community and local economy.”

Although the city of Lehi may be looking for an expanded population because of the new jobs, Adobe may not be thinking the same way. Adobe created an almost six-minute video to recruit those from outside the state to join their new campus in Utah. However, they spent the time showing benefits of living in Park City, such as close ski resorts and a fun nightlife.

The idea of living in Park City may draw potential employees in, but what the video did not mention was the distance from Park City to Lehi, which is about 50 miles away, approximately an hour-long drive.

Doug Meldrum, Lehi’s economic development director, said he he has not seen the video, but does not think it or the Park City life will take potential employees away from living in Lehi. Rather, he said, Lehi is preparing for the influx in population. Lehi is second in the state for single-family residences being built, with an average of 41 homes built every month.

“People look at the lifestyle in Lehi, even though it’s not in the video, and they’ll still be enticed by it,” Meldrum said. “We are still at the very top of the list.”

Lehi has just updated its general plan to account for the many changes which will occur.

“When you bring in that many employees, it’s going to have an effect on the population, on the shopping, the local area, the schools and children going to those schools and so on,” Meldrum said.

Although Meldrum said they have not figured out how much the city will make from increased taxes, residents as well as city officials are glad Adobe is coming. The site was one of many Adobe considered for their campus, and it was not chosen lightly.

“[Lehi] is quickly becoming more of a technology center in the state,” Meldrum said.

Gary Harter is the managing director for business outreach and international trade within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. He said he believes the time is ripe for economic growth in Utah because of the work force and incentives the state gives out.

Harter said although Utah does offer tax incentives, they are given based on the performance of the company after it has paid taxes, and then a few cents for every dollar is given back.

“They’ve got to hire the people, build the buildings, do their taxes, then they’re audited, then they get a percentage of that back as tax credit,” Harter said. “Consequently, they’re available for the company to do their facility anywhere within state boundaries.”

Lehi and Adobe worked together, Harter said, to find the ideal location, while partnering with the community and other businesses which are already established there. He said he believes the growth and development could help the community already established.

“The IT Sector, the overall software development sector, they pay more than the Utah average wage,” Harter said. “So having these high-end, high-wage jobs come into a particular area is always beneficial.”

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