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West Jordan City is finally pushing forward on a long-envisioned city center development across the street from its city hall.

Council members on Wednesday are scheduled to vote on hiring a professional consulting firm to bring in businesses, including a smaller-scale conference center and hotel.

The proposed contract anticipates a hotel of at least 90 rooms with a conference center of 10,000 square feet or more. The city also hopes to attract corporations to occupy tens of thousands of square feet of office space, big-box and smaller retailers and, eventually, residential developments at the planned West Jordan "downtown" adjacent to the TRAX West Jordan City Center Station.

The idea of a city center for the growing community of 109,000 residents has been a pipe dream for many years, but officials say that with a recovering economy, they're ready now to begin making it happen.

In addition to the planned business-recruitment contract, West Jordan has hired a new economic development director, has agreements with developers Arbor Land Development and the Gardner Companies, and intends to renew a redevelopment agency that the city had previously created.

"It's big for us — it's huge for West Jordan City," says Mayor Kim Rolfe. "Now we're actually at the point we have a developer, we have the city ready to go on it so it's going to happen finally."

"It will be a walkable community with a sky bridge across Redwood Road to the campus that houses City Hall, our courts building, the state court building and the library headquarters," he said.

The target date for groundbreaking is 2017. But Tom Burdett, city development director, said it could happen sooner.

"I met with John Gust, our developer, last week and he's getting a little more interest in the development and real estate community. So, yes, 2017 is a target for us to have something coming out of the ground. If we can do it earlier, if we can bring the right properties together to get a jump start on that, we will."

Key to the project is Jordan School District, which currently owns most of the 17 or so acres at the site and occupies most of the old strip-mall space with auxiliary services offices. Under the plan, the city will find space closer to the district's main offices in Jordan Landing and trade for the proposed city center property that runs south from the intersection of 7800 S. Redwood Road.

The district has occupied the building since shortly after it split in the formation of Canyons School District in 2009, but it was never ideal space for district purposes.

"They took a dark, 170,000-square-foot shopping center and brought life to it. They have 350 jobs that hub out of that area and so it was a good use to occupy that space during the recession," Burdett said.

"These big redevelopment projects are very difficult to pull off in a recession unless you have a really big partner like an insurance company or, like in the case of Salt Lake City, a religious institution," he said, referring to the City Creek Center development of the LDS Church. "But now we're starting to see the market come back and we're engaged in renewed activity and planning." —

City has its eye on ex-Ogden mayor

The city may hire a consulting firm owned by Matthew Godfrey, former mayor of Ogden, to bring in businesses to its proposed city center. › B2

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