700 acre development project in Vineyard will prioritize sustainability

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An early rendering for the lakefront portion of Utah City showing pedestrian walkways and a beach. A linear park will route pedestrians from the Vineyard Frontrunner station to the lakefront. (Illustration courtesy of Jacklyn Briggs.)

Utah City, a 700 acre development project in Vineyard, Utah, will prioritize walkability, sustainability and will be the “urban core of Utah Valley,” according to the Utah City website

The concept for the development was introduced alongside the Vineyard Frontrunner station in August 2022, according to the site. Ezra Nair, Vineyard city manager, said developers are anticipating that a full build-out will take 10-15 years. 

According to Utah City’s website, the urban community is designed to be pedestrian friendly, which will promote wellness among residents.

“When people have safe means of transportation through biking or walking in addition to cars, it enhances wellness,” Nair said. 

Morgan Brim, Vineyard city community development director, explained Utah City is designed to give right-of-way to modes of active transportation like walking and cycling. There will be large sidewalks which buffer from traffic, and buildings will be oriented around walkways rather than parking lots, he said. 

The proposed development will have a linear park which will route pedestrians from the Vineyard Frontrunner train station, through downtown and onto the shores of Utah Lake, Brim said.

According to the Utah City website, there will be more than 50 acres of parks, 2 million square feet of restaurants, 2 million square feet of shops and 17 million square feet of “mixed use space” that will offer a variety living and visiting options. 

Utah City advertises the community as a prime location for outdoor recreation with close proximity to ski resorts, hiking trails and Utah Lake.

Miranda Greer, a Vineyard resident of four years, said when she first heard of the extensive development she thought it was a good idea.

“Direct access to the freeway sounds like an excellent idea, not only for traffic but then safety for the roads throughout communities with pedestrians, bikers and children,” Greer said. 

She said she and other community members she’s spoken to are concerned about the area becoming overly crowded. 

According to Nair, while Utah City is among the many developments that will eventually double Vineyard’s population, the close proximity to public transit will offset some of the current transportation demands of the area. 

“Utah County’s population will double from 660,000 to 1.2 million by 2050 whether we like it or not.” Nair said. Giving some of that growth the option to live in a city that prioritizes public transit and walkability will “greatly help satisfy this inevitable demand without doubling commute times” for those who use I-15, he said. 

Eventually residents will have access to work, recreation, healthcare, education, worship and most life necessities within Utah City, Brim said. The first development phase includes a 40,000 square foot grocery store, according to the website. 

A rendering of downtown Utah City. The development will be home to many different businesses, restaurants, housing options and public spaces. (Illustration courtesy of Jacklyn Briggs.)

Utah City’s website states that the community will contain sustainable living options which “accommodate every lifestyle.” Brim said this means environmentally sustainable, financially sustainable and socially sustainable. 

“The integration of gathering places like the promenade (park) and many activity nodes will promote social interaction among residents,” she said. 

According to Brim, the development will have designated “moderate income” housing. He explained these units will cater to the 60-80% household income and give first-time buyers and renters cheaper living options.

Because of Utah’s participation in developing through the Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone, the community is required to have at least 11.7% of units deeded to affordable housing, Nair said.

“Ultimately, more housing supply will reduce costs for everyone. The more housing that is build countywide and statewide, the more affordable housing will be across the board,” he said. 

Brim said Utah City is looking to utilize sustainable material and energy efficient systems as the architecture is developed. According to Nair, Vineyard has focused planning on smaller, individual lot sizes and larger community parks. This has helped reduce overall water use in the city, he said. 

By focusing on all modes of transportation, Nair said they have helped residents who want to downsize to one car. 

“We see this trend continuing among some members of our population with additional jobs and businesses coming to Utah City,” he said. The development’s anticipated grocery store will also offer a more sustainable option so residents don’t have to travel out of the city. 

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