Professional offices, fine dining and upscale lodging may soon complement a quickly growing retail center in south Davis County.
City leaders have resurrected a plan to develop 10 acres of city-owned property adjacent to I-15 and Parrish Lane, just west of Super Target. The plan failed last year because of a lack of interest in an RFP or "request for proposal" the city released seeking developers' ideas but mandating restrictions set by Centerville officials.New leadership for the city has brought a fresh attitude to the proposed gateway area. Primarily, the city - heeding the advice of professional developers - has decided to release a new RFP with fewer restrictions to encourage a variety of proposals.
The original RFP "looked like a set of handcuffs," said Lynn Summerhays, a senior partner with the Boyer Co. The company is currently developing Salt Lake City's Gateway project.
Instead, Summerhays suggested the city release an RFP listing goals as opposed to desires. That way, it can attract numerous proposals and pick the two or three that most closely fit city officials' vision.
"You don't know all of the things you want to happen or all of the things you don't want to happen," Summerhays said.
City leaders do have a good idea of their desires for the property and have gone so far as to draw a conceptual plan. Preferably, they would like to sell the property whole, instead of breaking it into numerous, small parcels.
"We hope this will be something the community as a whole will enjoy having," said Councilman Michael Barton.
Centerville's gateway area has begun to boom in the past couple of years. Currently, it has a half-dozen fast-food outlets, three convenience stores and two supermarkets. With the addition of a Home Depot and a Land Rover dealership, city officials expect south Davis consumers to flock to the area.
What the city fears is a proliferation of retail and fast-food businesses in the area, and they hope to set an example of diversified growth with their property.
Barton hopes that will include one or two dine-in establishments, which would complement the fast-food offerings; a hotel, preferably of a higher class than budget lodging; and professional office space, to establish a consistent consumer base for the retail and food businesses.
Council members have stressed continually that their suggestions are just that and they're open to any ideas developers might have. "This is only a template and is very negotiable," said Councilman William Russell.
Boyer representatives appreciate city officials' willingness to adjust their expectations.
"(They need to) look at what will complement this area enough to make the engines work" for people outside of Centerville, said Boyer partner Lou Swain. If the city can attract consumers from as far north as Kaysville and as far south as North Salt Lake, the consumer base would be spectacular, he said.
"To make a difference, you have to be willing to go beyond the architecture and design of your average strip mall," Swain said.