Design & Development

MLB ballpark included in $3.5bn vision for Salt Lake City

Plans have been revealed for a $3.5bn (£2.78bn/€3.25bn) mixed-use development, including a new ballpark, which intends to attract a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise to Salt Lake City.

The Larry H. Miller Company (LHMCO), which oversees the Miller family’s business platforms, including real estate, senior health, sports and entertainment, and investments, has set out what it states would be a “transformational investment and catalytic development” in Utah’s capital city.

The Power District development vision includes the Utah State Fairpark and improvements to the Jordan River. LHMCO is working closely with the Utah State Fairpark board, Salt Lake City, the Jordan River Commission, and state leaders to incorporate various community master and land-use plans into the development framework.

Larry H. Miller Real Estate is collaborating with Boston-based urban planning and community design firm, Sasaki, on the venture. The planned, multi-function, mixed-use development will feature “abundant green space” and trails, a beautified Jordan River walk, innovative residential options, a focus on local dining and retail, and a potential MLB ballpark. It will be walkable, bikeable, and transit connected.

Precise details have not been spelled out for the stadium component, but LHMCO states the Power District serves as an “ideal, shovel-ready site” for an MLB ballpark. “We are passionate about this once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our capital city,” said Steve Starks, CEO of LHMCO.

“This project will serve as a vibrant extension of and gateway to downtown Salt Lake, complements the mission of the State Fairpark, and brings the Jordan River to life. The Power District will be a gathering place for Utah’s families to live, work, play and enjoy the best views in Major League Baseball.”

Steve Miller, board chair of LHMCO, added: “The Power District is an investment in human capital and will bring infrastructure and economic and educational development opportunities to the area.

“Our family is committed to this project and is humbled by the rallying of community support around this initiative. We are invested in this area because we believe in creating enriching experiences.”

LHMCO said development at the Power District is scheduled to begin in late 2024 with the construction of the new headquarters for energy company Rocky Mountain Power. Salt Lake City became the latest city to express interest in bidding for an MLB expansion franchise back in April.

Reports at the time stated that former Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller is leading a group that wants to bring an MLB expansion franchise to the Utah city in the coming years. The Big League Utah group consists of former MLB players Dale Murphy and Jeremy Guthrie, as well as the LHMCO group founded by Gail’s late husband, who brought the NBA’s Jazz to Utah from New Orleans in the 1970s.

LHMCO yesterday (Thursday) set out statewide support for its plans, with Utah Governor, Spencer Cox, among those quoted in the news release. Cox said: “The westside is a gathering place for so many people and this is an opportunity to be a showcase as people are visiting our state for the first time to see this incredible development, as well as potentially Major League Baseball sitting right there welcoming people into the capital city.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has stated the league is looking to add two expansion teams, but the timeline is unclear with settling the long-term stadium futures of the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays the current priority.

The latest news comes with Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), the parent company of the Jazz and the team’s Delta Center arena, formally requesting last month that the NHL initiate an expansion process with the purpose of launching a professional ice hockey franchise in Utah.

SEG said it would be able to immediately welcome an NHL team to Utah as Delta Center could serve as an interim home for the franchise. SEG also owns Major League Soccer team Real Salt Lake and National Women’s Soccer League outfit, the Utah Royals.

A team would either join the Jazz at Delta Center on a temporary basis or begin play in the next several years upon the completion of a new “state-of-the-art” arena.

SEG’s announcement came with Salt Lake City having emerged as the frontrunner to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2034, and Cox said the addition of an NHL franchise would further enhance the state’s winter sports credentials. A new NHL arena could be used to host events during the Games.