Tucked away in the southwestern corner of Utah, the city of St. George is in the midst of a huge growth spurt. This year, the city was declared the fastest-growing metro area in the United States by the Census Bureau, with a growth rate of about four percent. People are flocking to St. George, and the city wants to encourage residents to stay there for the long-term. So on one of the tabletop mesas overlooking both the metro area and the desert landscape, construction is about to begin on a development project that will bring St. George into the future.
Aptly titled Tech Ridge, this multi-purpose development is the result of collaboration between the city of St. George and local tech companies busybusy and PrinterLogics. The development is an attempt to attract younger people and companies to the city. Currently, many of the jobs available in St. George are either in the tourist or retail industries.
Stretching across the top of a mesa that was once home to the St. George Regional Airport, Tech Ridge will feature a wide array of office, residential, and retail space. The idea is that everything could possibly need is within reach. Theoretically, you could live your entire life without ever having to descend from Tech Ridge.
“The goal of Tech Ridge is to create a live, work, and play environment, and create the best user experience for the people that live and work there,” said Isaac Barlow, the CEO of busybusy and a board member of Tech Ridge LLC. “We are trying to make it the most amazing place in all of southern Utah. And it will be.”
The planned 160-acre multi-use development will feature a wide variety of amenities specifically designed to draw in–and retain—tenants, including a zip line and a running trail wrapping around the circumference of the mesa offering stunning views of the surrounding area.
“This is more than just a business park,” said Jon Pike, St. George’s mayor. “We really feel like this is a huge opportunity to create something special in our city.”
The entire project is being facilitated by busybusy, a tech platform based in St. George that collects data for the construction industry so companies can make better, more educated decisions. The company provides time and equipment tracking solutions, which are set to be used across the entire Tech Ridge construction project. With the use of both busybusy’s platform and other technologies, the company is angling to turn Tech Ridge into the first-ever paperless jobsite.
“We want to put together case studies to demonstrate to industry how successful these technologies are, and how much profit can be made through the utilization of these technologies,” said Barlow. “We believe there’s a really strong value in the data collected from construction sites.”
The hope is that not a single sheet of paper is used at any point during the construction of Tech Ridge. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but Barlow believes that a project of this size going completely paperless will move the industry forward considerably. To make this a reality, busybusy is teaming with other tech platforms to ensure the development remains paperless through completion.
As of now, construction is set to begin in 2019. Mayor Pike and Barlow hope construction on Tech Ridge continues for years. They hope young professionals will feel as though Tech Ridge is a place where they can work, live, and ultimately stay.
“We don’t want to be sending our children and grandchildren away, because they don’t have the kind of jobs that attract them to stay,” said Mayor Pike. “I hope, very literally, that this becomes a beacon on a hill.”