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Developers are turning locations with unused, underutilized monuments into housing projects

Utah city officials are mulling plans to take land that housed previously abandoned businesses and turn it into housing.

West Valley City is hearing a proposal to rezone the area around the Redwood Drive-In, which would allow new owners to tear it down and build housing.

The drive-in example highlighted that other places in the state are being targeted for redevelopment as housing.

Murray City Planning Commission officials gave their approval to demolish abandoned businesses and convert them into residential areas. However, they said it would be much harder to convince them to wind down a viable business.

One area planned for housing development is located on Galleria Avenue and was formerly called the Utah Fun Dome. There was a shooting there in 2003, and then it was Valor Preparatory Academy, but it closed. Now, it’s nothing.

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Cassandra Payne, who lives across the street, said it didn’t used to be an eyesore, but now it is.

“We used to have a green field where we could take the dog and play in the field. I mean, I took my son there,” she said.

Payne wouldn’t mind if the lot were filled with houses, as long as they weren’t high-rise apartment complexes that would block her view of the mountains.

“It’s fantastic to be able to look at the mountains out your back door or your front door. It is the beauty of Utah,” she said.

Murray Director of Community and Economic Development Phil Markham said Murray City officials’ homes will one day be built there.

“That has simply been waiting for redevelopment. That will happen. There is a property owner who has shown interest in developing the property. We have not received a draft yet,” Markham said.

He said the planning commission made their recommendation to convert the Dead City Haunted House on Vine Street into housing. It was across the street from the Murray City Cemetery and had not been used since it caught fire in February.

However, Markham said these areas were effectively dead from a business perspective. If they were thriving businesses, it would be difficult to convince the city to sell them for housing.

“In Murray, we really haven’t taken viable commercial properties and rezoned them to residential only,” he said. “We are protecting our commercial base here in Murray.”

He said even if a landowner were desperate to sell their business to developers, the city won’t let it happen if it doesn’t fit into their overall plan.

“We look at that overall plan first, and if it doesn’t fit well, it’s unlikely to be considered,” Markham said.

Markham also said there are three TRAX stations in Murray that homes could be built around, including the station behind the Intermountain Medical Center. In addition, Salt Lake City confirmed that there was a plan to convert the strip mall near the old Coachman’s Restaurant into housing, but that deal fell through.

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