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Carousel Ice Cream Parlor, Movies 8 are gone as Provo razes old favorites for new development

Blighted retail locales in defunct Plum Tree shopping center to be replaced by The Mix at River’s Edge, a mixed-use project with shops, offices, 293 apartments and a 124-room hotel.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Provo employee Kaye Neves pulls down the face of what was a Shopko as the now-defunct Plum Tree shopping center in Provo is demolished to make way for a new development on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Provo • Nostalgic residents said goodbye Tuesday to old features of the Plum Tree shopping center as demolition crews tore them down for a new city-backed redevelopment.

Long-defunct favorites like a Shopko outlet, Movies 8 and Carousel Ice Cream Parlor fell to excavating machinery after Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and other city leaders acknowledged them as “a beloved part of our community.”

Kaufusi said she fondly remembered cheap date nights as a college student “with a $1 movie and sundaes at Carousel Ice Cream Parlor. It was all we could afford.”

(Image courtesy of Provo) A rendering of The Mix at River's Edge, a new mixed-use redevelopment project being built at University Parkway and 2230 North in Provo, the former site of the Plum Tree shopping center.

What’s replacing the sagging 30-acre strip mall will be called The Mix at River’s Edge, with Provo as a financial partner. The redevelopment will have a bit of everything, too: 293 apartments, a 124-room luxury hotel, lots of office and retail spaces — and access to transit.

The site has been blighted for years, according to Keith Morey, Provo’s economic development director. Watching the prime piece of property at University Parkway and 2230 North lay dormant “has been difficult,” he said, “but the reality of its reawakening and transformation is truly exciting.”

Kaufusi said in a news release that after several owners and discarded plans, the city now had “the right timing and the right team” for the large mixed-use project at that central and high-profile Provo location to succeed.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Crews pull down the face of what was a Shopko as the now-defunct Plum Tree shopping center is demolished to make way for a new development on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Nate Pugsley, CEO of Brighton Development, called it one of the best sites in rapidly growing Utah County, particularly with its proximity to Brigham Young and Utah Valley universities.

Pugsley, who also recalled eating and shopping at Plum Tree while a BYU student in 1988, said his firm was “excited to invest a little bit of time, money and resources to improve this part of Provo.”

The redevelopment is one of several in the Utah County seat, including a revamp of the block around City Hall, a major upscale office project downtown and assorted residential buildings going up around the city.

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