The new Zions Bancorporation campus is a Utah landmark
It’s no longer strange to see a shiny, new tech building arrive at the west end of the valley. While many of these new locations are branches of startups in Silicon Valley, the latest high-tech campus arriving in Spring 2022 will be home to Utah’s premier banking institution, Zions Bancorporation. Its completion will bring forward a sustainable future and a new face to fintech.
Located in Midvale, the former Sharon Steel Superfund location will become home to the new Zions Bancorporation (Zions) high-tech campus and operations center. The 400,000-square-foot campus will accommodate more than 2,000 of the regional bank’s employees from all other sites and become the company’s primary location, supporting digital services for their customers.
Jennifer Smith, EVP and chief technology and operations officer at Zions, says the decision to create this landmark project came by simply listening to their employees. “The feedback was pointing toward a strong desire for not only a better space for collaboration but [employees] wanted to be closer together with their colleagues. So we will be moving all 11 [of our other locations] into this one building.”
The economic impact
Another major part of the project was making sure that it made financial sense, both for the company and for the city of Midvale. Smith says it took more than two years to make the final financial case for their new campus, until Zions CEO, Harris Simmons, got involved with the industry experts at Colliers. Then, all systems were a go.
“It was saving us money, believe it or not,” says Smith. “And we are just as equally committed to the success of Utah, the economic success of Utah. We have major operations in other parts of the country, we could have chosen to put this location in those different locations. But we chose Utah, in that specific location because of our commitment to growing and contributing to the communities that we serve.” By consolidating those 11 sites and bringing everything into one location, Zions will easily reduce its operational costs by 20 percent starting late 2022.
This commitment to local is exactly what Midvale Mayor Robert Hale wants to continue throughout the project. “We have a local producer of steel beams right here in Midvale, so they only have to travel about five or six blocks to get them to where they need to go onsite.” Mayor Hale says by keeping the cost of materials low and within the city, itself is a huge bump in their local economy and the surrounding cities.
“We’re so glad that Zions has accepted to work with our local producers of products and continue to keep this project as local as possible. It’s a great blessing for our city’s economy.”
Breaking ground on this project also caps nearly 30 years of work by Midvale officials and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to Superfund the metals-contaminated Sharon Steel site. After years and millions of dollars of remediation—including moving, lining, and capping at least 10 million cubic yards of tainted soil—the land was taken off the Superfund list in 2004 and as of 2018 no longer poses a risk to humans or the environment.
“The area where [the campus] is now under construction was once a virtual wasteland,” Hale says. The chosen site has lain barren, much of it contaminated, for about 20 years before [Midvale] began working with the EPA to turn it into something the city could be proud of.
Setting a new standard
Brandon Fugal, chairman of Colliers, represents Zions for the campus project and helped in the ultimate selection and development of the site. Fugal believes this project is truly changing the workplace standard in Utah and the dynamic of the community. “This entire process will allow Zions to effectively attract and retain top talent in Utah’s ever-growing fintech space while also setting a standard for workplace excellence.”
The project has already been able to create and maintain at least 1500 more jobs in the city of Midvale since breaking ground in 2020. “To have an institution like Zions making a commitment of this scale,” says Fugal. “Especially during these challenging times, solidifies their confidence in Utah as not only the crossroads of the West but as the emerging crossroads of the world.”
Once the campus is set for occupancy, Zions doesn’t plan to forget those who helped start this entire project: the employees. With flexible work opportunities, open floor plans with large collaboration areas, and UTOPIA fiber-optics for the proper bandwidth necessary to conduct financial data communications and large virtual meetings, they are creating equality in terms of how people engage with their peers and with work.
“We’ve even been talking about incorporating electric shuttles to and from the living spaces as well as incorporating the trails near Gardner Village,” says Hale. The development and growth of Midvale will soon become a draw to the younger generation of professionals he says. “The old with the new have a charm together. We’re bringing back a rebirth of the old city while at the same time creating a new city.”
This integration of life and work will also create a cohesive workplace experience no matter what kind of socioeconomic status employees are in. Smith believes that any employee level will be able to enjoy the surrounding real estate and outdoor grounds for generations to come. “The investment we’re making in our employees, that’s what delights me the most, what they’re going to experience. I can’t wait for them to get into this space.”