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A New Gold Standard

SoJo Station shows how transit-oriented developments can best meet community’s needs

So Jo Station Top Honors
Photo: Corey Middleton

Located in South Jordan, Utah, SoJo Station is the first and only transit-oriented development (TOD) of its kind in the state, and is quickly becoming the gold standard for how TODs should be created at both the state and country level as a way to best meet the needs of companies, employees and communities alike.

The $60 million SoJo Station is a two-phase project. The first phase is a six-story office building and 1,034-stall parking garage, which was completed in June 2017, and phase two is a second six-story office building, additional 845-stall parking garage and reconfigured bus drop-off/pick-up area, expected to be completed in November 2019.

Jory Walker, AIA, principal architect with Beecher Walker Architects, Holladay, Utah, says the design team worked closely with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) design team, Paul Drake, to create a project that could be used as the best example of a TOD. “This was accomplished by bringing the entire project up to the rail level, creating a roundabout drop off and integrating the buildings to the freeway and FrontRunner rail to give direct access to the two, six-story buildings,” he explains. “We also were able to partner with South Jordan City and UTA to provide close to 2,000 structured parking stalls. In addition, we were able to incorporate a eight-story, 192-suite, full-service Embassy Suites into the project.”

The two, 180,000-square-foot, six-story, Class A office towers are the heart of SoJo Station. The LEED Silver-certified buildings are designed to appeal to newer progressive companies, moving to or within the area, looking for the style and amenities their employees’ desire. These amenities include a fitness facility, showers, bicycle lockers and an on-site café. The buildings have a contemporary and clean design with floor-to-ceiling glass, metal panels and brushed aluminum accents.

The goal was to depict “a city of the future,” with a sleek building design as the centerpiece, while also showcasing it as a hub of public transportation. “The TOD nature of this project, and not being in a downtown urban setting reflect a city of the future where transit hubs become city-like,” Walker explains. “We are bringing people together via convenient transit options to work and do business—yes—but by providing other lifestyle amenities such as the fitness center, bike lockers, access to trails, restaurants on property, conference facilities, hotel on-site, and now other ancillary businesses developing around the site, allows this new ‘city’ to fill all the needs and conveniences a typical city does.”

“Metal and glass are used together to create an almost automotive streamline finish to the design,” Walker says. The exterior uses a gunmetal gray colored aluminum to hold the curved lines of the glass façade, topped by lighter brushed aluminum caps that capture the glass curves. “The curve of the glass is reacting to the speed of the FrontRunner train and the freeway, while the metal acts as a frame to hold the curved glass as it rises from the platform,” he says. “The combination of the two materials capture the sleek, futuristic look we desired and also played off the metal and glass of the trains and rail, the buses and even the cars of in the parking lot.”

Mitsubishi Chemical Composites Co. Inc., Chesapeake, Va., supplied its 4-mm ALPOLIC aluminum composite material (ACM) panels with a PE core. Phase one features 25,000 square feet in MZG Gray and 9,000 square feet in TBX Silver. Both finishes are Fluropon coating from Minneapolis-based Sherwin-Williams High-Performance Coatings (formerly Valspar Corp.). On the inside, the metal panels extend into the lobby where ALPOLIC ACM curved metal ceilings hold embedded lighting and are surrounded by interior glass panels.

While the project received the 2018 CCIM Utah Excellence Award for Development of the Year, Walker says the project almost didn’t happen. Originally designed and expected to be built at a light rail stop in Sandy, Utah, the project fell through after not receiving final approval from the city council. Walker called another developer with control of the South Jordan FrontRunner rail site to see if they would be interested, and the two sets of developers ended up partnering on the final project.