Utah is no stranger when it comes to accolades and honors, most recently the Provo-Orem metropolitan area came out on top as the fastest growing area in the nation by the Brookings Institution. The comprehensive study examined metropolitan area growth from 2010-2015, overall prosperity and inclusion to gain insight into key areas of the economy. As we continue to see accolades such as these, business leaders across the state gather to discuss what this means and how Utah can continue to grow the most robust economy in the nation.
In this spirit, our partners at the Utah Valley Chamber recently hosted their third annual Commercial Real Estate Symposium, this year’s theme “adjusting to rapid growth” brought in a number of speakers to present the state of the market in Utah County as well as predictions for the future.
Event co-sponsors Coldwell Banker Commercial gave an exclusive look into several different areas of the Utah County market including retail development, housing trends, changing consumer habits and an educated workforce for the jobs of the future.
In addition to organic growth from Utah’s thriving startup community, the rapid growth Utah County is experiencing is a result of companies locating along the Wasatch Front bringing high-wage jobs with them. The first speaker of the day, Jarrod Hunt, spoke of the technical nature of these jobs and how demand for these skills will only continue to grow over the coming years. Utah’s talented workforce has stood at the ready for these positions but Hunt believes the key is ensuring we continue to supply the workforce needed to fill these jobs. This message reaffirms ongoing efforts by Governor Herbert in partnership with the Salt Lake Chamber and numerous other stakeholders to connect students to workforce training opportunities through the Talent Ready Utah initiative.
Keeping with the symposium’s theme, a panel of transportation experts discussed current and future projects that will enhance Utah County’s connectivity and aid in adjusting to the rapid growth. Shane Marshall, Deputy Director at UDOT shared thoughts about his own experience as a commuter and the need for increased transportation funding, specifically policy efforts to address this need.
In reality, transit must play a greater role in Utah’s second largest county. Utah is projected to reach 5.5 million residents in 2065, nearly double today’s population. Much of that growth is expected to be in Utah County. As such, Mary DeLaMare-Schaefer of UTA spoke about their Provo-Orem Transportation Improvement project, a bus rapid transit development that will increase connectivity between major points in the two cities. Projects like this will create a backbone of transit access to allow for sustainable growth, keeping Utah County’s economy moving.
Additionally, these speakers, joined by the Derek Miller of World Trade Center Utah and Steve Gleason of the Provo Airport, provided a robust picture of where the county has been and where this rapid growth will lead the county and the state in the future.
The event closed with parting thoughts from Clint Betts, Executive Director of Silicon Slopes and Rona Rahlf, Utah Valley Chamber President on how continued growth has allowed Utah’s collaborative business community to flourish.