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Utah Business

Want to help create a utopia in Utah? You just need to invest through public infrastructure developments like Piper Sandler did.

You could help build the next utopia in Utah if you invest in a PID

As Utah continues to massively grow, water use, environmental impact, housing affordability, and air quality are on everyone’s mind. However, if implemented correctly, the Public Infrastructure District Act of 2019 could solve all of these problems.

The Public Infrastructure Act allows for low-cost funding for parks, roads, infrastructure, and water via investment groups, companies, etc. Traditionally, cities and neighborhoods funded by PIDs are developed in bits and pieces as the money for the infrastructure becomes available. 

So far, Utah is becoming a hotbed for such spots thanks to the work of investment group, Piper Sandler. Working with local government and real estate developers, the group has financed over $331 million for public infrastructure developments in Utah. 

“The idea behind the tool is to allow for better master planning and the ability to cover significant infrastructure costs from the beginning of planning,” says Benj Becker, VP of Piper Sandler’s Special District Group in Utah. “So that allows you to do things like better infrastructure, more parks, better quality of life characteristics, a greater focus on a variety of housing types, and better attention to design.”

Becker explains how large amounts of funding early in the development process allowed for better planning of Daybreak, Utah, which was funded upfront by Kennecott. While Daybreak was not funded through a PID, PIDs, like the ones Piper Sandler is funding, will hopefully make more master-planned communities possible by allowing easier access to low-cost funding.

“[Daybreak] was able to have better planning for streets, sidewalks, walking trails, and parks,” says Becker. “That initial master planning and consideration for multiple unit types and unit sizes were made possible because of its deeper pockets upfront to do infrastructure work and master planning.”

Simply said, if companies choose to invest in a PID, they can help fund better public infrastructure developments like Daybreak, and they could help create better cities for their employees to live in. 

One of the newest developments to be funded through Piper Sandler and PIDs is the Mayflower Mountain resort, a master-planned community and ski resort near Jordanelle Reservoir. Having secured $260 million in funding for the new resort community, Piper Sandler has helped make it possible to include 1,300 hotel rooms, over 1,200 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail and conference space, and 1,000 new skiable acres. Additional amenities include miles of walking, hiking, and cycling trails, as well as a community pool, playground, and tennis courts.

Not only can PIDs create better-planned communities with all the amenities, but they significantly can reduce the cost of homes, too. In addition to funding the Mayflower Mountain Resort, the Piper Sandler team has created several new PIDs, including the Golf Academy & Equestrian Center, which will add 500 residential homes and a hotel to Wasatch County, and the Crossroads Public Infrastructure District, which provides funding for over 15,000 acres of industrial development.

In the last year alone, Piper Sandler has funded developments that, when completed, will result in more than 1,700 new homes. These homes, Becker says, help keep home prices from rising uncontrollably by adding much-needed inventory to the supply. 

Public Infrastructure Districts also provide cost savings for developers, allowing them to profitably design a certain number of smaller homes within a more affordable price range. This allows them to meet city requirements for providing a certain number of affordable homes.

“The developer says, we can’t build this how you want because the market won’t support that. We don’t have the rents to offset those construction costs,” Becker explains. “But if a public infrastructure district gets that borrowing capacity, and lower rate or cheaper rates, then we can do this.”

Piper Sandler’s investments in Utah’s public infrastructure districts will make smart, fast growth not only possible but profitable and appealing for cities and developers. This low-cost funding for desperately needed new developments allows for smarter and faster growth in Utah, which is essential as the population expands at a rapid rate.