FARMINGTON — They say the first rule of real estate is location, location, location.
The owners of Station Park apparently have found a winner as they prepare for the next phase of expansion at their multi-use retail center, conveniently nestled a stone's throw from the junction of I-15, Legacy Parkway, U.S. 89, a commuter rail line and a network of biking and walking trails.
On Tuesday, Station Park officials announced that several retailers had signed leases to occupy spaces currently under construction at the development's Village Center.
Swedish clothier H&M will anchor one of three new retail and commercial buildings, which are expected to be completed in the spring of 2013. Other tenants will include Twig's Bistro, Republic of Couture, Francesca's Collections boutique, Charming Charlie and Bandito's Taqueria.
Several stores have opened their doors at Station Park in recent months, including Famous Footwear, Petco, Maurices, Torrid and Zumies.
Two new pavilions are also under construction and are expected to be completed in time for the holiday season. The pavilions are located around the Village Center show fountain and will include a number of quick-serve eateries.
"So much is changing each day that you won't recognize Station Park if you haven't visited us for a while," said Debby LaMotte, Station Park general manager.
Farmington City Manager Dave Millheim said he has yet to hear a negative comment about the center, which opened in 2011. He said the city has seen an economic boon from the center and other developments nearby.
In the year after Station Park opened, Millheim said Farmington saw an "unheard of" 22 percent increase in sales tax revenue.
"It has exceeded our expectations," he said.
Like many retail projects in the U.S., Station Park had to hit the brakes on development after the recession hit, LaMotte said. But that turned into a benefit, she said, because organizers were able to review and redesign their plans. By rolling out construction in phases, Station Park has been able to tailor spaces to retailers' needs.
"I think it's only bigger and better," LaMotte said.
When completed, Station Park will comprise roughly 1 million square feet of shopping, dining, entertainment, office space and hotel accommodations, she said.
"It will be this epicenter of Davis County where people can come and get everything they need," LaMotte said.
Station Park was first anchored by a Harmons grocery store and soon after a Cinemark movie theater.
Bob Harmon, Harmons vice president, said he's excited about his new neighbors and the increased customer base he hopes they'll bring with them.
"It just adds more value to the whole center," he said. "It plays right into the center becoming more vibrant."
Harmon said Station Park's walkable atmosphere and explosive growth has made the location a great place to do business. He said people in the community and surrounding area have really started to notice the convenience of the development's location, and he's confident business will only get better.
"It's an area that didn't have a lot of amenities in the past," Harmon said. "They're finding it. It's exploratory for a lot of people."
Millheim said Station Park's location is "perfect geography" for a large, multi-use center. In the past, city leaders were hesitant to allow retail development, he said, but eventually experienced a paradigm shift, realizing they could support the needs and costs of a bedroom community with development in the right areas.
By building near one of the busiest interchanges in the state, Station Park capitalizes on out-of-town visitors as well as local residents who for years had to drive for miles to buy even a gallon of milk, Millheim said.
"I think they're very smart," he said of the center's owners. "You've got people from Ogden and Bountiful driving through."
But Millheim emphasized that beyond the economic advantages the center brings to Farmington, the city has been pleased with Station Park's commitment to quality and community values.
The center has brought in entertainment options to a community where Millheim said people frequently used to complain of having nothing to do. During the summer, many families visited the center's show fountain, he said, and a weekly concert series brought in a steady crowd of between 500 and 1,000 people.
"My son has already gone on three cheap dates there," Millheim said. "It's not just a typical strip mall."
LaMotte said the developers' goal is for every person who visits Station Park to leave with a different experience. She said the center has a number of improvements and additions planned, including an expanded concert series next year.
LaMotte also pointed to the explosive growth of residential offerings near Station Park as evidence that an expanding resident base was in need of retail services. She said nearby housing developments are nearing completion, which developers say will have a synergistic effect with Station Park's offerings.
"The line we say is 'the best is yet to come,' and it's so true," she said. "I think (Station Park) is actually changing the retail landscape in Davis County."
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