LAYTON Davis County's largest city isn't built out yet in the retail and restaurant industry, according to the city's economic development specialist.
"We're still very far from being built out," Ben Hart said. There is still considerable space on the city's main thoroughfares that could be used for new businesses, he said.
One of the biggest needs Hart hears about is the lack of a big-box electronics store in Layton. At one time, the city had three such stores. Now it has none.
"We're working on it," Hart said.
With a Best Buy store slated for Farmington, Layton is still left out.
Hart said there are three vacant big-box buildings in town right now Fort Lane's grocery building, the former Albertson's home off Antelope Drive and the former home of Ultimate Electronics, west of PetSmart.
He said the former Ultimate building is receiving some serious consideration for remodeling and even expansion. There's nothing to announce yet, but he said there will be a lot of happiness when that long-time vacant building is back in some sort of retail usage.
The empty Fort Lane grocery store will be a part of Fort Lane Village, a proposed new development for that aging shopping center. Hart believes it may require extensive remodeling to get a new tenant for the former Albertson's building.
"We're not maxed out on restaurants," Hart said. "We'll see strong growth again," he noted, once the economy picks up.
Hart believes Layton already had the best and most diverse collection of restaurants found anywhere in the state.
What are some chain restaurants, for example, that Layton lacks in its "restaurant row?" How about Chuck-A-Rama, Benihana, TGI Friday's, Pei Wei Asian Diner and Jack in the Box, to name a few big eatery names missing from Layton's roster.
Hart said Chuck E Cheese's is currently building in Layton, across from Home Depot on South Main Street. The rear of two buildings under construction there will house the pizza place and the front building may end up a strip mall or house other businesses.
Layton is also anticipating another major empty building in mid-October, when Deseret Industries moves out and goes a half-block east on Hill Field Road to a new complex, that will also house LDS Distribution Services, employment and related services.
"We'll try and get somebody to fill it," Hart said. The middle portion of that complex is already vacant and soon only Hungry Bear Pizza may remain.
Hart said economic interest is also growing at the south end of Main Street, near where IHC plans to build a new hospital and where a full-access south Layton I-15 interchange will be built.
The Layton Hills Mall and surrounding area is also doing well these days. Hart said the mall has above average sales.Regarding U.S. 89 on the city's extreme east side, there isn't much there now, just a few gasoline stations. Hart believes it will take much more time to develop that corridor. In fact, it may take some big business to be a pioneer and start a trend there.