The future of the West Jordan economyApr 12, 2021 10:34AM ● By Erin Dixon
Part of West Jordan’s economic future means working with companies to bring them to West Jordan. Pictured here is the grand opening of the Smith and Edwards in August 2017. (File photo City Journals)
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
Several months ago, City Journals highlighted the new city economic development director, Chris Pengra.
What is his plan moving forward?
“We know there are roughly 600 acres, much of which will be industrial and commercial,” Pengra said. “[With the rest of the 1500 acres] there are a lot of opportunities.”
What is the city’s responsibility when it comes to business?
“At any given time we are networking with people, like retail establishments, we want to have in our city, to let them know what properties we have available in West Jordan,” he said. “We tend to focus most of our time on retailers that we think are going to offer some unique value to the community.”
To keep businesses that are already here, city leaders will help them maintain stability by shortening the supply chain.
“When we do surveys with those businesses [that are already in our city] we say, ‘Who are your suppliers that you wish were closer?’” Pengra said. “I’m going to have more direct contact with our larger businesses because of their larger impact on our economy.”
What about small business?
“There are far more small businesses, so we tend to communicate with them through surveys and email, though we do have some direct interactions with them,” he said.
What are some business projects in progress? City officials are working with retailers and state leaders to bring some more business to the city, which ultimately helps with tax revenue and job opportunities. Some of Pengra’s ideas are a state liquor store, entertainment venues, recreational sports, a furniture retailer and truck stops.
What about tying West Jordan to the Inland Port?
“The inland port is the authority on logistics movement in the state of Utah and how goods are being distributed in Utah and in the West,” Pengra said. “We’re interested in bringing in higher-value manufacturing opportunities into West Jordan and making sure we have clear paths to transport those goods to and from the inland port.”
What isn’t the city’s responsibility?
“It’s not the city's responsibility to go out and find people to fill those [smaller] store fronts,” he said. “Usually the property owner will work with a broker, and the broker will try and fill those storefronts. That doesn't mean that we can’t help or we won’t. In some instances, we do want to bring in a specific retail establishment, something we feel is going to add value beyond what otherwise might come in.”