Utah City: A Utah-topia Rises on Lake Shore

Imagine your own Utah-topia surrounded by towering mountains and a glassy lake glistening in the near distance. Walk to your favorite shops after the kids’ soccer game. Grab an ice cream soda and meander through the city park on your way home. The whole point of this community is safety, camaraderie, walkability, and impeccable planning.

Sound too good to be true? Enter Utah City, Utah County, Utah. Think about hitting the lake on the weekend. If you lived in Utah City, you’d be there by now. Shoreline properties are likely to be all the rage. Yes, the state of Utah now features a city named Utah. It’s located (of course) in Utah County. Would you have it any other way?

Jeff Speck and DPZ, the firm founded by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, expect this 700-acre Utah-topia to become the state’s new urban core.

Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage, “Fail to plan and plan to fail?” That is not what’s happening here. This neighborhood is designed to be a mixed-use community and when I say “designed,” I mean right down to the promenade from the city center to the shore of Utah Lake. Every street, bike route, and walkway will be placed with purpose. Developers are reaching for a striking balance of sustainability, livability, and good old-fashioned community spirit (only better).

Where is Utah City?

This massive master-planned community is located on the eastern shores of Utah Lake in Vineyard, Utah. Some know the site as the former U.S. Steel Geneva Works site. The site is now cleaned and cleared for development. It is south of Salt Lake City and on the west side of Interstate 15.

Utah City will be accessible off I-15 from 1600 North, 800 North, and Center Street exits going west, east-west connectors, and the Vineyard FrontRunner station.

Utah City was designed by Jeff Speck and DPZ, the firm founded by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.

Is Utah City incorporated?

Is Utah City Incorporated? Well, no. It’s easy to see how one might be confused. Utah City is a neighborhood within the incorporated city of Vineyard. Vineyard was a town (some say dating back to 1899), but residents incorporated it in 1989. In 2010, the U.S. Census counted 139 residents in the small city named after a group of vineyards just outside the town center. In 2016, Vineyard became certified as a “city of the 5th class.” That means it boasted 1,000 to 10,000 residents. In 2020, the Census recorded a population of 12,543. Vineyard is part of the Provo–Orem Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The population grew from 139 at the 2010 census to 12,543. That is an increase of about 8,924 percent. It is the fastest-growing city in Utah and one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Much of the growth can be attributed to the redevelopment of the former Geneva Steel site. That rapid growth began around 2012. Utah Valley University bought 125 acres of the Geneva Steel site to expand to a new west campus.

The location is 35 minutes from the Salt Lake International Airport, 12 minutes from Brigham Young University (BYU), and 20 minutes from Sundance Resort, and it offers easy access to the area’s major interstates.

Is Utah City a good place to live?

Utah City touts its location as being, “Close to nature, far from ordinary.”

While this new community is in the very early stages of development, world-class architects, planners, builders, their support partners, and Vineyard City administration, are committed to serving residents from all walks of life. It will feature homes of many shapes and sizes, some waterfront properties, professional offices, banks, businesses, recreation, entertainment, and more.

Utah City online promises:

  • more than 50 acres of parks and green spaces
  • 2 million square feet of retail and shops (some exquisite designer retailers)
  • 2 million square feet of restaurants (some gourmet, high-end restaurants)
  • 17 million square feet of mixed-use spaces, including housing

The number of residents will have a direct impact on other mixed-use partners’ success. Utah City will be a social-ecological model. Developers and their partners are creating a lifestyle, not just a community.

Ground is broken for a phase to include 450 residences, but developers do not expect it to take about 15 years to complete.

The Utah City official website features a promotional video, “Building the Next Great City, Welcome to Utah City.” The production further explains the concept behind this master-planned community (the first of its kind in Salt Lake City.

In the video, Jeff Speck, a celebrated city planner and walkability expert said, “If you don’t have neighborhoods, you don’t have a property city.” He added, “Neighborhoods are defined by being diverse, compact, and walkable. So you have places to live, places to work, places to shop, and places to recreate, all within walking distance. That’s the diversity that makes the neighborhood work.”

This passionate designer advocated for walkable communities internationally.

Speck said walkability is in high demand, but planning is crucial to ensure the walking is:

  • Useful
  • Safe
  • Comfortable
  • Interesting

Forth Bagley, a KPF Principal Architect said, “At KPF really what we’re trying to do is not just create beautiful pieces of architecture, but also this sort of cohesive, symbiotic relationship between nature and the built environment.”

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Project designers, Kara Fox and Tom Fox of Fox Design are mindful of Utah City’s public presentation. “It’s all about creating different moments in different scenes on different streets and on different corners. When you turn a corner and see something incredible, that’s another moment [made],” Tom Fox said.

UVU Health Village will include Huntsman Cancer Center

In October 2023, Utah Valley University announced a new initiative that will change the landscape of healthcare quality and availability in the western portion of the valley. On Oct. 11, UVU unveiled plans for a Health and Wellness Village soon coming to the university’s Vineyard campus. That village will feature some pretty impressive partners including the Huntsman Cancer Center’s new Utah County facility.

The UVU Health and Wellness Village will be part of the university’s 225-acre campus in Vineyard. In addition to accessible health care for area residents, UVU will use it for hands-on learning and clinical training of students.

Joel Carson - Utah's # real estate agent

Joel Carson is the President and Principle Broker of Utah Real Estate with over 30 years of experience buying and selling real estate in the greater Salt Lake City area.

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Article Last Updated: November 14, 2023

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