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Feb. 16, 2012

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  Economic Review  
Jeff Edwards President's Message
Celebrating Utah's Olympic Legacy

It's quite amazing to think a decade has passed since Salt Lake City hosted the Olympic Winter Games. To be sure, the 2002 Winter Games left an indelible imprint on the state, its economy and its populace. That legacy includes world-renown athletic venues, an improved transportation infrastructure and deep civic pride. Thanks largely to the Olympics, Utah has evolved into a world-class destination for tourists and athletes alike.

At EDCUtah, we are celebrating two recent project wins that will add approximately 310 jobs to the state's economy: Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is planning to build a hospital on the Mountainstar Lone Peak Campus in Draper, which will employ approximately 300 people; meanwhile, Gorilla Brake and Components Inc. will maintain and expand its manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, retaining 11 employees and adding approximately 10 more.

You can see a breakdown of all the latest project wins by following this link to our Utah Site Selection Quarterly newsletter.

Today's Economic Review also includes links to many of the ED-related news stories from the past week. As always, if you have comments, suggestions or topics you'd like to see in the Economic Review, please contact us by clicking the "Comments" link on the bottom of this page. Enjoy!

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards
President and CEO

Feature Story
Strong Fundamentals Bode Well for Commercial Real Estate in Utah

Utah's commercial real estate market has fared better, with more stable outcomes, than most markets across the nation, according to speakers at the 2012 Utah Commercial Real Estate Symposium, held in Salt Lake City on Jan. 31.

"Salt Lake and Utah face challenges just like other areas of the country, but private sector leadership in job creation is adding value to the economy and providing a model for us about what we need to do different," said Dr. Sam Chandan, president & chief economist at Chandan Economics and adjunct professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who delivered the symposium's keynote address.

To be sure, Utah's industrial, retail, office and commercial investment sectors -- all battered by the Great Recession -- are all rebounding.

Retail
Brett Palmer, retail/investment property specialist with NAI West Commercial Real Estate, said the retail market picked up its pace toward the end of 2011, and most retail market indicators and data appeared better in the second half of 2011, particularly in the fourth quarter.

"The consensus is that more retailers are genuinely committed to opening new stores. As a result, market activity is up," he explained. "There is a bridge forming between landlords and tenants, sellers and buyers, making them more acceptable of new market norms. As a result, nearly all transaction types have increased."

Palmer added that the total number of lease transactions was up 13.64 percent and owners' sales were up 28.57 percent. Still, the four Cs: cautious, careful, calculated, and certainty generally describe the current attitudes of retailers, landlords and lenders and largely determine their modes of operation.

Looking to the future, Palmer said most of the indicators within the local market's retail sector and generally in the state's economy seem to point to continued momentum in 2012 from that generated during 2011, particularly the fourth quarter.

Read the rest of this story in our Utah Site Selection Quarterly newsletter, Winter edition.

Calendar

Feb. 21-24
Technology Venture Development Executive Education Seminar (University of Utah)

Mar. 5-9
Game Developer's Conference (San Francisco, CA)

Mar. 21
EDCUtah Quarterly Investor Update (Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, Salt Lake City)

Mar. 23
EDCUtah Board of Trustees Meeting (TBD)

Mar. 27-29
JEC Composites Show & Conference (Paris, France)

Mar. 28-29
2nd Annual Principle-Centered Leadership Conference (Eccles Conference Center, USU)

April 10
The Governor's Utah Economic Summit (Grand America Hotel)

Apr. 11-13
Utah League of Cities and Towns Mid-Year Conference (St. George)

April 21-25
Industrial Asset Management Council (Austin, TX)

May 20-23
ICSC RECon Tradeshow (Las Vegas, NV)

May 21-24
SAMPE Tradeshow (Baltimore, MD)

Oct. 16-19
Technology Venture Development Executive Education Seminar (University of Utah)

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The EDCUtah Economic Review is a weekly publication of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. It is distributed to EDCUtah partners and selected other government and civic organizations interested in Utah's economic development.

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In the News

Utah is #4 in states hiring
Utah ranks #4 in hiring, according to Gallup's Job Creation Index.
(MSNBC)

GOED invites Utah businesses to join trade delegation to Chile
The International Trade and Diplomacy Office, part of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, is inviting Utah business owners to join a trade delegation that will go to Santiago, Chile, later this year to participate in Expomin 2012.
(Salt Lake Tribune) (Utah Pulse)

Nordstrom to hire 200 for City Creek Center location
Nordstrom announced this week it will hire 200 employees for its new City Creek Center store downtown.
(Deseret News)

Utah governor makes clean air his top priority
Gov. Gary Herbert ended the news conference on the state's new air-quality initiative with a call to action and a raised fist.
(Salt Lake Tribune) (Deseret News)

Utah program has $400K in grants for new tech companies
The Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development recently approved more than $400,000 of grants in support of new technologies that universities and licensees are seeking to commercialize to help build companies, create jobs and drive economic development in the state.
(Standard-Examiner)

Leaders meet to create five-year business plan for area economy
On Friday, 20 community leaders met for the first time to discuss the greater Ogden-area economy.
(Standard-Examiner)

Utah Valley CVB offers sneak peek of new convention center in Utah
The Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau (UVCVB), the official destination marketing organization for Utah County, announced today that it is offering a sneak peek of the nearly completed Utah Valley Convention Center located in historic downtown Provo, Utah.
(Press Release) (Salt Lake Tribune)

County's joblessness lower than state's
The latest jobless figures put Davis County's rate lower than that of the state, which is substantially under that of the nation.
(Davis Clipper)

ATK Technologies Support Launch of ULA's Delta IV Rocket Carrying WGS-4
ATK composite, propulsion and spacecraft technologies supported today's successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. This rocket carried the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-4) into orbit for the U.S. Air Force.
(PRNewswire)

Business Recovering in Ogden and Weber Counties
The economy is looking up in northern Utah, according to business and community leaders at Utah Business magazine's Weber/Davis roundtable Wednesday morning.
(Utah Business)

Heber City: One of America's fastest-growing small towns
Forbes ranks Heber City as one of America's fastest-growing small towns.
(Yahoo) (Forbes)

J&J may invest $85m in Salt Lake-based Coherex Medical
Johnson & Johnson may invest $85 million or more in Salt Lake City-based Coherex Medical Inc., a medical device maker, and possibly purchase the company in about six months.
(Deseret News)

SLCC Hosts Startup Weekend-Salt Lake City
Designed to inspire, educate and empower entrepreneurs, Startup Weekend is a fun, intense and risk-free way to start a business
(Utah Pulse)

Utah lawmakers aim to resolve online sales-tax issue
For more than a decade, one Utah lawmaker has wrestled with the dilemma of how to collect tax from online sales. Utah residents are required to self-report and remit their uncollected sales tax on their annual state tax returns. However, few do because there is no enforcement mechanism.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

$1.5B City Creek Center on schedule for March 22 opening
The clock is ticking toward the highly anticipated opening of Utah's top retail development.
(Deseret News)

Do Gateway closures signal a shift to City Creek Center?
The Gateway shopping center in downtown Salt Lake City has lost several tenants in recent weeks, including children's clothier Gymboree and apparel retailers Lane Bryant, American Eagle and Express.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

City Creek Center means uncertainty for The Gateway
A window sticker depicting a low-resolution image of Olympic Legacy Plaza plasters the façade of the former McGrath's Fish House at The Gateway mall. Other windows have similar images of the mall or stock photos of smiling people.
(Deseret News)

Restoration Hardware to open in City Creek Center
One of Trolley Square mall's main tenants, Restoration Hardware, is headed to City Creek Center, the new downtown Salt Lake City shopping center opening next month less than two miles away.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah construction jobs growing but behind national curve
Construction jobs in Utah are 39 percent off the state's pre-recession peak in 2007, but the numbers are gradually improving with a growth rate of 2.5 percent during the past year, according to a contractors trade group monitoring the rates.
(Deseret News)

Service jobs projected to grow as manufacturing employment continues to decline
Uriarte, a former star linebacker at Southern Utah University, is a quadriplegic, and would need a personal aide like Winston if he ever wanted to look out of his 10th floor window at the nearby University of Utah football stadium.
(Deseret News)

Corporate expansions creating demand for office space
James Lee Sorenson has begun building one of the first speculative office buildings along the Wasatch Front in years.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Retail sector stages a comeback in Utah
The Wasatch Front economy, wobbly but standing straighter than many rivals, is attracting a host of retail expansions that in 2012 are bringing dozens of new retail concepts to the state and prompting expansion by dozens of retailers already here.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Venture capital poured into Utah in 2011
Venture capitalists stepped up their investments in Utah during the final quarter of 2011 in what is viewed as a positive sign of how investors see the future of the state's economy and the companies based here.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Top Utah business executives call for statewide nondiscrimination law
An executive for a well-known, successful company says potential out-of-state hires typically want to know if Utah is tolerant.
(Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune)

Prices aren't mirroring uptick in home sales
A report released Thursday by the Salt Lake Board of Realtors shows that the Wasatch Front's housing recovery has yet to extend to home values.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Service exports help Utah weather the recession
Service exports, while not typically included in state or national trade numbers, represent a significant portion of Utah's overall exports and have clearly impacted our steady economic recovery.
(Utah Pulse)

Conference to bring capital and technology jobs to Utah
The 28th Annual Investors Choice Venture Capital Conference is an opportunity for high-growth companies to participate in the angel/venture capital process. Zions Bank, VentureCapital.Org and the Wayne Brown Institute (WBI) will be hosting this conference on Feb. 9, 2012.
(Utah Pulse)

MultiLing continues expansion with new Utah headquarters
Following its move to expanded headquarters in 2005, MultiLing has finalized an agreement to occupy two floors of the newly constructed Zions Bank building at 180 N. University Ave., Suite 600, in Provo, Utah, to accommodate the company's planned growth in 2012 and beyond.
(Utah Pulse)

Tourism Office facing budget cuts
Utah's tourism industry is putting up a united front this legislative session. Following disagreements with Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed budget which included a million dollar cut to the Utah Office of Tourism's advertising budget the industry is making its case: tourism is worth every cent.
(Park Record)

One Way sets U.S. base camp in Park City
The Finland-based Nordic ski company, One Way Sport, is setting up shop in America. The company moved to Park City in October in hopes to expand the brand stateside and is currently trying to find retailers, which means by next winter One Way could be offering a gamut of Nordic gear in U.S. stores.
(Park Record)

Chamber president speaks out against hidden taxes, unfunded mandates in health reform
The Salt Lake Chamber stands in opposition to tax increases—particularly hidden taxes and unfunded mandates.
(Utah Pulse)

Output drives Utah business conditions to 'vigorous' level
Business conditions in Utah surged to a "vigorous" level in January, propelled by strong manufacturing activity, according to a report released Wednesday.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Logan jobless rate down to 3.9 percent
Jobless rates in the Logan metropolitan area are below 4 percent for the second straight month.
(Herald Journal)

Employers could get incentive to put homeless Utahns on payroll
After being homeless on and off for two years, Libby Weyen has her life back on track.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

American Fork alarm company Platinum Protection lays off most of staff
A Utah-based home alarm company with customers around the country dismissed most of its employees Thursday in a restructuring with an uncertain future.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

OR Winter Market pulls in record numbers
The 2012 Outdoor Retailer's Winter Market was one for the books. In it's four-day stretch, the annual market had a jump in buyers, attendance and exhibitor booths. More than 21,000 attendees gathered in Salt Lake City's Salt Palace, making it the largest-ever winter show.
(Park Record)

Utah consumer index holds steady in January
Utah consumers held onto their relatively optimistic view of the local economy during January compared to the rest of the nation, according to a new report.
(Desert News)

Canyon Center development closer to reality
Ghosts of the past are making way for skiers and others in the future now that a public-private funding mechanism is in place for the Canyon Center development, on the site of the old Canyon Racquet Center.
(Deseret News)

Small business index up slightly
The Zions Bank Small Business Index for Utah was 115.8 in January 2012, up from a revised 111.2 in December 2011.
(Deseret News)

Taylorsville wants to give commercial areas a boost
Two commercial areas along Redwood Road could get a boost under economic-development plans on the drawing board in this west-side burb.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Salt Lake City video game developer lays off workers, shifts focus
Salt Lake City video game developer Eat Sleep Play laid off eight employees last week as it finishes its anticipated PlayStation 3 game, "Twisted Metal," and transitions from producing console titles to mobile games.
(Salt Lake Tribune)