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"Move right in." (Utah business climate)


In the spirit of its pioneer tradition, Utah has opened its valleys to a new wave of emigrants. They've come with new ideas, technologies, and strategies, and they've decided, as did their famous predecessors, that "this is the place." They're diverse companies, relocating or expanding, that have been enticed here by what Utah has to offer them. And yet, they share a common need: a space in which they can make their ideas happen.

When considering a building for a base of operations, companies should remember the factors which initially attracted them to the state. These factors (transportation, labor, taxation, governmental cooperation, etc.) are applicable on a local level and will effect this decision, as well.

Located at the crossroads of two major U.S. interstates and central to the intermountain region, the Wasatch Front provides businesses with a transportation hub unrivaled in the West. Many existing buildings are served by rail and readily accessible to freeways. These features should be evaluated by prospective users. How much shipping will the company be doing, and will the majority of that traffic be by rail or truck?

"Rail is becoming a minor factor, but highway accessibility is a much larger factor," says Rich Benion of Commerce Properties. Companies may also feel that proximity to a major airport is a top priority. Though, as Benion points out, "Air is usually only a major factor for delivery companies, like UPS." In any event, transportation concerns are crucial to most relocating businesses.

Concerns over labor also influence the choice of a new business location. Utah, as a state, has a work force whose hard-work ethic is envied by other states. But these workers must come from somewhere to get to work. Businesses need to find out where their employees will be driving from and figure this information into their selection of a building.

The specifics of existing buildings are rarely in exact accord with the desires of the business but, as Rad Dye at CB Commercial says, "What the user will pay for a building depends upon how cheaply they can move in--how cheaply they can rebuild or refurbish for their needs." Companies should be attentive to building specs, if only because the closer the existing structure resembles their ideal structure, the less they will pay out for renovations. "Where many people run into problems is when they must bring an old building up to new standards," says Steve Price of Price Development Corp. Studying features such as the ratio of total space to office space as well as specs like power voltages, dock heights, sewer lines, water tables, and fire codes will give companies an idea of how close the existing building comes to meeting their needs.

"In the last couple of years, people have opted more often to move into existing buildings because of the amount of good, available space we've had," says Dye. This situation is slowly moving towards reversing itself, but Utah still has many quality, large-scale buildings available and continues to compete with and often surpass other regional markets. Asked to sum up the Salt Lake market, Price says, "Robust. Definitely robust." [Tabular Data Omitted]

Jeff Barrus is editorial intern at Utah Business.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Olympus Publishing Co.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Barrus, Jeff
Publication:Utah Business
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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