Eagle Mountain’s Mega Site: Five Questions for Windermere’s Adam Von Maack & Ryan Evans

Eagle Mountain is home to Utah’s newest, fully certified Stage 2 Mega Site. Mega Sites are large-acreage land sites that have been extensively researched and pre-qualified to house large corporate relocation or expansion projects with significant jobs and capital investment. With the help of expert partners, EDCUtah developed Utah’s Mega Site certification process.

The Eagle Mountain site represents 490 acres of leveled land, adjacent to the Facebook data center. It’s got power capacity of 345 KV lines with a 1 GW expandable substation. Water rights are up to 1,301 acre feet…in other words, a substantial parcel for any company to look at.

We caught up with Adam Von Maack and Ryan Evans of Windermere Real Estate in Sugarhouse, the brokers for the property, to learn more about the site and the certification process.

 

Who are the owners and how did they become interested in marketing it as a Mega Site?
AVM: The property is owned by CV Properties, and has supported an operating sod farm for more than 40 years. About five years ago, the owners wanted to get a better idea of the land’s worth, given that Eagle Mountain City was working on infrastructure planning and improvements, as part of the city’s long-term economic development strategy. 

At the time, that new infrastructure was planned but not improved, and any relevant connections were well over a mile from the site. The owners elected to keep the land in agricultural use until development in the area and improvements came closer.

Two year later, we learned that Facebook was coming to Eagle Mountain, which changed the game. It was at that point my partner Ryan Evans and I began, on behalf of CV Properties, to perform due diligence about the development potential of the Site.

 

What did due diligence involve?
Due diligence includes geotechnical analysis, engineering studies, utility availability studies, land use and planning studies, air quality and environmental studies, and so forth. It’s really in-depth, and once completed, the information gathered gives us a means to price the land appropriately.

And the benefit of these studies to the acquiring company is that the ramp-up time on the property is shortened from something in the 18-month range to just a few months. The buyer has a clear picture of the critical aspects of the site from a development standpoint.

I should clarify that Ryan and I worked with various partners to get these studies done. We relied on Terracon and CRS Engineering for a lot of the technical work. Dominion Energy and Rocky Mountain Power were extraordinary in their willingness to assist. Eagle Mountain City was approachable, proactive, and is using common sense in the zoning decisions that are underway. 

 

In general terms, what are the benefits of Mega Site certification?
A former EDCUtah staff member first brought the certification opportunity to our attention. We learned that thanks to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and EDCUtah, there was a path to share in the costs to undertake the needed due diligence. That cost sharing makes doing that deep dive economically feasible. That was the first benefit.

The second benefit as I mentioned is that the certification process gives us the information we need to price the land appropriately. We know what we have.

A third benefit is that through the certification process, we can rely on EDCUtah’s and GOED’s relationships with site selectors, large national developers, and corporations to get the word out. We can advertise the site more effectively because we have a better chance of reaching the right people in large organizations, people we couldn’t reach on our own. It gives us market reach.

And fourth, as I mentioned, it shortens the feasibility timeline for the buyer. They’re not starting from a blank slate.

 

How do you find the process overall and working with EDCUtah on certification?
We were a bit of a guinea pig, but overall it was straightforward. GOED, EDCUtah, Rocky Mountain Power, and Dominion Energy were all responsive, exercised discretion, and appreciated the unique aspects of the site. 

We realized a couple of steps in the process were unnecessarily rigid, and Katherine Morrell at EDCUtah was great to work with. We were able to give input and that process has more flexibility now than at the start of the program. 

As a result of EDCUtah’s capabilities in outreach, and the data we’ve put together through certification, we’re formally relaunching the property on all local and national real estate channels in coming weeks.

 

What trends do you see the Mega Site program embodying?
If you compare two similar parcels, one with certification and one without, the certified parcel has an advantage in the market. There’s a level of predictability. Going forward, a flexibly designed Mega Site program should bring more large projects to Utah in general, and Eagle Mountain specifically. 

 

For more information, visit eaglemountainmegasite.com.

 

 

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Wed, 04/08/2020 - 10:52