Developer John Gust's family has owned the Arbor Park area since before the Great Depression.
And now, he says, the 17-acre area in the heart of Magna at 8400 West (Utah 111) and 3500 South is ripe for redevelopment with 150,000 square feet of retail and office space that will keep west-side shoppers in town.
Gust of Arbor Park Associates LLC and partner KC Gardner Co., run by prominent developer Kem Gardner, are poised to begin construction on the $15 million to $20 million Arbor Park project on the Salt Lake Valley's west side. Financing is being provided by Zions Bank, Gust said.
The project has received approval from the Salt Lake County Planning Commission and Magna community councils. It is waiting final approval as an urban renewal area from the Salt Lake County Council. Tax increment financing from the urban renewal designation takes dollars that will be generated by new development and pour them back into public improvements such as parking, curbs and gutters and water pipes, according to Dale Carpenter, director of Salt Lake County Division of Business and Economic Development.
"The good news is we have an active developer," Carpenter said. "Some other things we're hoping will be announced are exciting retail opportunities."
Part of the project area was once owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that maintained a park there called Arbor Park. Arbor Park currently has an Arctic Circle and a Wells Fargo bank and Zions Bank, the Alorica call center, Alianza charter school, a new fire station and a Head Start school.
In the past, it has hosted a Smith's grocery story, a Sprouse-Reitz, a Thrifty drug store and a county library, but those have gradually drifted away. Much of what else was there has been demolished and is waiting for final approvals before the project proceeds.
"It's left pretty much a blighted area," said Gust.
As an area in economic decline, it qualified for urban renewal financing to help with infrastructure.
"It'll be a mix of retail, a grocery, restaurants, fast casual food various shops," said Gust, who said he could not disclose which businesses had signed leases nor with which ones negotiations were underway.
Gust has been behind the developments as The District in South Jordan, the Jordan Creek Town Center and Draper Crossing. Arbor Park, which his family has owned since 1928, is designed much like them, he said.
"There's a lot of connectivity to it with walkways," Gust said. "There'll be updated lighting, benches; there'll be kind of a sitting area out in the corner."
The development will have access to mass transit from the Utah Transit Authority's 3500 South bus rapid transit line.
Renovation of some existing buildings has begun but new construction will wait final approvals and negotiations with two major retailers whose names he could not disclose, Gust said.