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Case Study: Economic Development Market Analysis for Sandy Steps

Sandy, Utah

Image for Sandy Street Case Study

Project Type:

  • Downtown Revitalization
  • Economic Development
  • Market Analysis

Product Type

  • For-Rent Apartments
  • For-Sale Attached Condos
  • Industrial/R&D
  • Office
  • Retail/Entertainment Center
  • Town Center

Development Concepts

  • Mixed/Multi-Use
  • New Urbanist/Smart Growth
  • Revitalization
  • Transit-Oriented Development

The Challenge

Sandy, Utah is an urbanizing suburb of Salt Lake City located about 15 miles south of downtown along the I-15 freeway. The city of approximately 90,000 is located with the Wasatch region’s desired corridor and grew rapidly as a “bedroom” community during the 1980s. It is still a preferred community in the region due to its proximity to the Wasatch Mountains and their world class recreational opportunities (skiing and snowboarding, hiking, climbing, etc.), as well as to high-quality employment. Over the past 15 years, the downtown also gained both a new commuter rail station and a new light rail station on opposite sides of town only 1.5 miles apart, which are beginning to spur higher-density development around Sandy’s business district.


The city retained RCLCO to evaluate the market for residential (for-sale and rental), commercial (office and retail), and hospitality real estate in and around city-owned property in Sandy’s downtown area. The focus of RCLCO’s work was a project area known as “Sandy Steps,” which is located between Sandy’s civic center and the South Towne Center, a 1.2 million-square foot regional mall.

The analysis determined the highest and best use of each of the various property types according to a range of scenarios. The scenarios reflected a range of infrastructure and other investments by key public and private stakeholders, such as the completion of a new transit line and development of hospitality, among other factors. These investments impacted the market positioning, pricing, and estimated capture of demand for each use—thereby allowing the city to both evaluate the potential return on initial investments, and outline a development phasing strategy.


The RCLCO team brought exactly what the city needed by assessing market trends and development potential for the repositioning of our civic center area. They were able to articulate potential in terms of scalability, public commitment, and viability that city officials could understand. The quality and completeness of RCLCO’s work has aided the city in determining investment and direction as we move forward on the project.

Nick Duerksen

Economic Development Director, City of Sandy, Utah


RCLCO’s work concluded that the development of the area as a regionally significant walkable, mixed-use urban core was both feasible and likely the area’s “highest and best use,” standing to benefit from the Salt Lake region’s rapid economic and demographic growth, its proximity to the mountain resorts, and the increasingly limited developable land in the region. The project moved forward with property acquisitions, land planning refinements, securing public funding for infrastructure improvements, and regulatory and entitlement changes.


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