West Valley City breaks ground on another phase of downtown project

Fairbourne Station project will “change the face of West Valley,” the mayor says.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Wasatch Commercial Management gets ready to break ground Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, alongside developers, real estate brokers and state leaders in West Valley City for the state-of-the-art ÒFairbourne StationÓ that will serve as the cornerstone of the new downtown in UtahÕs second-largest and most diverse city.

West Valley City • Wearing hard hats and wielding golden shovels Tuesday afternoon, West Valley City leaders set in motion the next phase of a 40-acre mixed-use urban development project that has been planned for nearly 20 years.

“This will change the face of West Valley City,” Mayor Ron Bigelow said at an event before the ceremonial groundbreaking of Fairbourne Station. He noted that West Valley City has been a “bedroom community,” with lots of suburban and agricultural spaces but no downtown center.

The office space at Fairbourne Station is expected to be completed in 2019, and construction is scheduled to begin early next month.

Members of the City Council, architects designing the development, capital investors and other key players attended Tuesday’s event.

Assistant City Manager Nicole Cottle said the development is about half-finished. It is projected to include a hotel, residential units, green space, retail shops and dining spots around the city’s civic center south of 3500 South and between 2700 West and 3500 West.

FAIRBOURNE STATION BY THE NUMBERS:<br>∙ 40 acres<br>∙ High-density development of 1,000 residences<br>∙ About 1,500 jobs<br>∙ 200,000 square feet of office space<br>∙ 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space

Fairbourne Station’s public plaza and the promenade of the Embassy Suites hotel opened in 2012, and the first phase of residential space opened in 2014. Granger Medical Clinic also announced in 2015 that it plans to build a $25 million, four-story office building at Fairbourne, covering 4 acres.

The funding for the more than $100 million development has come from public money, private investors and Redevelopment Agency funds, according to City Manager Wayne Pyle.

The planning began when Pyle started working for the city in 1997. Seeing the pieces come together now is “hugely satisfying,” he said.

“This is one of the reasons I got into city management in the first place,” he said. “I wanted to be able to see the fruits of my labor over time and be able to see a community grow and progress, and a community be able to actually be healthy and see those sorts of things.”

Pyle said there isn’t a specific timeline for completion of the next phases of the project, which will include more office space, Granger Medical Clinic and more apartment units, but he estimated the entire development would be completed about 2024.

The project gets its name from Joseph Fairbourne’s 19th century weigh station, where groups of westside settlers gathered to measure their produce on the way to the market in what would become West Valley City. Officials hope the 40-acre mixed-use downtown development bearing his name will hark back to the spirit of that historical gathering place.