Officials Discussing Utah State Prison Relocation

DRAPER, Utah — The Utah State Prison is being relocated in order to accommodate development in Draper on the prison’s 700-acre property.

Both state officials and developers have been attempting to clear the 700-acre space for many years. With the prison’s relocation, the space can be used for prime commercial and residential development. Prison Relocation Authority Committee members have until the middle of 2014 to propose any projects to the governor. This would include taking time to request and review proposals before deciding on a final plan to submit.

No plans have been made for the development of the new prison, but the committee may begin requesting project proposals starting in September. Committee members have already heard presentations from Thomas Mabey of Deseret Corrections Center, Robin Riggs and Al Mansell at Point West Ventures and other representatives from various banking and construction companies.

Although no location has been decided on for the new prison, Mabey stated that a prison with 4,000 to 5,000 beds could be built within 24 months if the state approves a building proposal.

Mabey stated that relocating and building a new prison now would be the most financially feasible option. The constant maintenance and upkeep necessary at the prison makes it impossible to wait until all aspects of the prison have been worn out beyond use. A convenient mix of low interest rates, low construction costs and high economic development are combining to help facilitate not only the state prison’s move, but also the development and construction of new buildings on the Draper site. Mabey told the committee recently, “To me that has always been the urgency—to get something done while the costs are so low.”

The prison’s current location is also ideal for commercial development. It is located near I-15, Bangerter Highway, TRAX commuter lines, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. Revenue generated from new development in this location would help recover the cost of relocating and constructing the state prison elsewhere.

Constructing a new, more efficient prison would also help reduce the cost of operation and help save the state money in the long run.

Committee Director Gregg Buxton suggested a proposal request be submitted in August to give the committee time to review proposals and decide on a plan to present to the governor before the next legislative session.