Porsche actively working to move out of Salt Lake City

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Porsche might be done with Salt Lake City. 

In fact, it might be done with South Salt Lake before even giving the town a try.

A John Elway dealership is under contract on a property on Wasatch Drive near Millcreek’s Olympus Cove neighborhood, sources tell Building Salt Lake. The company’s representatives worked to sell the community on the idea of a car-focused rezone at a meeting on Monday night.

The company is under contract on a 6-acre piece of land near 3900 South and hopes to build a 53,000-square-foot dealership on a large piece of it under a process that appears to be moving rapidly.

“This plan also anticipates a second mixed use phase at a later date on the excess 2 acres on the north side of the dealership, plus the ‘clover’ on-ramp acreage when UDOT redesigns the 3900 South interchange systems,” the chair of the local community council wrote.

The team hopes to rezone the property to allow for a car dealership. The town’s general plan calls for a future village center on the site, which is currently zoned for single-family residential on 8,000-square-foot (0.18-acre) lots.

The community council chair is also hoping to organize a trip to see another Porsche dealership in Palm Springs, California, within the next week to see a car dealership in person. The trip would be joined by Planning Director Francis Lilly, indicating the city is working quickly to nab the dealership out of the capital city.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development confirmed they worked with the dealership — currently located at 1045 S. State in the Liberty Wells neighborhood — to find more land.

The officials said the company wanted 3.5 acres to 4.5 acres, which is becoming a rarity in Salt Lake City.

According to the Mt. Olympus chair’s email and information from two other sources, the company is considering using 4 of the 6 acres for a car lot. The remaining 2 acres would be developed into something else.

“That Phase 2 plan is still TBD in specific details but is likely to include more traditional mixed uses of restaurants/office and residential uses,” the chair wrote.

The plan is a potential blow for South Salt Lake, which was hoping to attract the high-end dealer and its six-figure sales tax revenues into the heart of its new “downtown.”

South Salt Lake officials agreed last year to hand a 5.5-acre parcel to a car dealer, continuing the car-centric build-out of what is purported its urban district but which is actively turning into a drive-thru and surface parking car paradise.

South Salt Lake officials didn’t respond to requests for comment about the status of that 5.5-acre parcel, and whether they still hope to see a car lot built immediately next to two transit stops.

At-large South Salt Lake City Councilwoman Natalie Pinkney told us she wouldn’t mind if her city missed out on the new dealer in the heart of “downtown.”

“I would be supportive of their new home as SSL is at capacity with dealerships,” she said.

Salt Lake City officials said car dealers generate an average of $457,000 in sales tax revenue, with the city getting 73 percent, or about $333,000 of that. The highest grossing dealer generated $900,000, so Porsche could have meant a bit more to Salt Lake City, financially.

Still, it’s too soon to say what would replace the Porsche if it leaves Salt Lake City. Car-centric businesses frequently show up quickly along the State Street corridor, as allowed and encouraged by zoning. Another dealer could just as quickly take up the space. (That may be likely, as the land is owned by the Strong group of car-sellers.)

The company’s representatives are bringing their architects to show off the plan for the new car lot.

The city appears ready to fast-track the issue, holding a joint meeting between the Planning Commission and City Council on July 25 — the day after the Pioneer Day holiday.

Email Taylor Anderson

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Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.