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Sandy Journal

10 Takeaways from the Sandy Stadium Village Master Plan Draft

May 07, 2019 10:01AM ● By Justin Adams

Rio Tinto stadium plays host to the boys soccer state finals. (Justin Adams/The City Journals)

By Justin Adams | [email protected]

In the 10 years since Rio Tinto stadium first opened, the area surrounding the home of Real Salt Lake hasn’t changed much. But that’s about to change as the “Stadium Village” section of the city’s Cairns master plan takes shape.

Last year, Sandy city contracted Gateway Planning, an urban development consulting firm, to come up with a master plan for the Stadium Village area, the bulk of which is contained between 9000 South to 9400 South and from I-15 to State Street. On Tuesday, May 7, the Sandy City Council will discuss the first draft of the master plan that’s been in development for over a year. The city will also host an open house dedicated to the issue at 7 p.m. the same night in the city hall’s multipurpose room.

The draft being presented totals 76 pages plus an additional 100+ pages of appendices. Here are 10 key takeaways from a quick reading of the document. 

1. It's just a plan

A master plan is just a template for what the city would like to see happen in a given area. So just because the master plan includes a hotel in the spot where a certain building currently sits, it doesn’t mean that building is doomed.

“We’re not suggesting that anyone has to give up their property or business. If you own property somewhere and see something else on top, we’re not saying that has to happen,” said Scott Polikov, a member of the Gateway Planning team, during a town hall meeting last year.

“My perspective of this project is to provide the big picture that can guide decisions,” added Jake Warner, a project manager for the city’s community development department. “The fine grain of what actually gets built is going to depend largely on the market and the timing of the property owner.”

2. Road Changes

One of the first changes lined out in the draft is new road alignments. First, Monroe Street is shown being extended from where it begins on 9000 South all the way down to 9400 South as a straight north-south road. Two proposed east-west roads would connect the new Monroe Street, 255 West , Stadium Way and State Street.

“The resulting grid pattern establishes a series of urban blocks as the canvas for redevelopment, allows increased walkability, and diffuses automobile congestion,” reads the master plan draft.

3. Entertainment Plaza

The “preferred scenario” presented in the master plan draft is anchored by an entertainment plaza northwest of the stadium.

The master plan describes the area as a “new piazza-like outdoor space” that would not only be an attraction for RSL fans before and after matches, but also attract sports fans year round with community watch parties with giant outdoor TV’s, becoming a “metro-wide destination for group-viewing of televised sports on away days (i.e. World Cup, World Series, NFL Playoffs, Olympics and away games for BYU, U of U, Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake).”

4. Canals and Open Space

Two canals run through the Stadium Village area, one on either side of the stadium itself. The master plan proposes the canals become an important open-space feature to tie the surrounding area together with multi-use trails.

“In the Preferred Scenario a trail is introduced on the west side of the canal. This trail connects a series of pedestrian plazas and amenity areas that front approximately 2000 feet of the canal corridor,” reads the master plan.

However, that may be easier said than done. “Both canals are privately owned and will require artful negotiation with each ownership group to allow landscaping improvements along these corridors.”

5. Mobility

Speaking of being pedestrian-friendly, the master plan draft places a big emphasis on connectivity. The design would promote alternative forms of transportation, both to and within the area. The very first page of the draft reads, “The Cairns District is envisioned as the second major downtown of the Wasatch Front. A walkable, connected Stadium Village will be key to realizing this vision.”

The Village’s “Connected Mobility Network” is projected to include “people-oriented streets,” bicycle routes, pedestrian trails along the canals, and potentially, a shuttle bus system to transport users from the TRAX station throughout the Village.

6. Parking

The plan suggests that a “reduction” of parking, coupled with the aforementioned mobility network, will make people “more likely to embrace innovative transportation options.”

That said, a number of new parking structures are included in the master plan draft. “Stadium parking is verticalized and distributed among several new wrapped structures.”

However, the plan envisions some problems arising when RSL match attendees compete for parking spots with shoppers, hotel guests and residents.

“The shared nature of parking will also require active management to prevent conflicts between stadium goers and on-site users particularly on game days. This may involve a combination of reserved spaces on the upper floors, and open public spaces on the lower floors. It will also require the installation of payment kiosks and the application of new payment/ticketing technologies to manage special event loading.”

7. Residential

A key component of the master plan is that it aims to be a thriving urban environment, not just on game days, but year around. This requires a “24-hour population,” or, residential property.

The plan calls for “4 to 6 story mid rise buildings that are wrapped around internal parking structures and interior courtyards,” the majority of which will be situated north of the stadium. The plan does say, however, that there is “outstanding opportunity for high rise residential construction southeast of the stadium; positioned to capture views of the mountains to the east and the stadium pitch to the northwest.”

8. Tailgating

That’s right, tailgating isn’t just for football anymore. The master plan makes room for “new landscaped picnic areas that extend along the south and east exterior walls of the stadium and include permanent tables and grills. Traditional tailgating is reserved for the expo center parking lot southeast of the stadium.”

9. Classic Fun Center

Classic Fun Center, a popular attraction among locals, falls within the Stadium Village zone. Fans of the center can rejoice though, because the master plan draft includes a preservation of sorts.

“The synergistic relationship to the stadium is an element that should be perpetuated. The Preferred Scenario shows a building configuration that is different than the existing Classic Fun Center facility, but this use is still implied as an important anchor component.”

10. Timeline

A definitive timeline is not laid out in the master plan draft, but it is broken into three phases that incrementally grow each aspect of the zone. For example, the number of proposed multi-family units doubles each phase, with 388 units built in phase one, 890 units in phase two and 1,875 units built in phase three. On the flip side, the first phase would include the largest increase in office space and parking lots.