The city will receive a four-field baseball complex and $200,000 in cash as part of an agreement with a Salt Lake City developer to build a large retail center on the city's south side.
The agreement, approved Wednesday, allows developer Doug Young of Payson Gateway Development Co. to build a 500,000-square-foot retail center, including a 50,000-square-foot auto mall, a 150,000 square-foot department store, shops, restaurants, theaters, and a city sports complex on a 41.5-acre former gravel pit near the I-15 800 South exit.Plans call for the retail project to be completed over a five-year span.
"We're getting a lot of residential growth and we need the retail to support that," said Brent Bluth, city economic development director.
Like many Utah County communities, Payson is trying to anticipate its needs as more homes go up. "We're starting to go in a pretty good direction," he said.
The project will be Payson's largest retail center. "I think at full build-out, it will bring a tremendous amount of tax revenue to us," he said. Bluth estimated the city will collect about $600,000 annually when the project is complete. The city already has a burgeoning business park to provide jobs and a commercial tax base.
Called "the pit" for years by residents, the site was used as a gravel supply when I-15 was constructed several years ago.
The city purchased the land for $125,000, said Councilman Jim Griffin, and then sold it to Young to develop as part of the agreement. Young also owns another 4.5 acres that borders 800 East, the entrance into Payson, which will also become part of the project, but is not part of the development agreement, said Bluth.
Young agreed to build the sports complex, worth about $600,000, and donate it to the city "within a reasonable time." However, the council expects it to be ready by Sept. 1, 1999. The complex will include a tower, four baseball fields, concession stands, grandstands, restrooms and parking.
The new ball fields will help ease logjams at the city's existing recreation areas. "A lot of games a scheduled late into the night because of the lack of ballfields," Bluth said.
A major amount of the dirt taken out of "the pit" will be filled back in, but the site will still sit below the surrounding terrain.
Officials said the new retail complex, which will have a major anchor store, should keep many Payson shoppers in town, which would benefit the local sales tax base.