LAYTON — From the worst in town to the best. That's how the developers of Fort Lane Village view their plan for reinventing the old shopping center at Fort Lane and Gentile streets.

During a recent 90-minute work meeting with the Layton City Council and Planning Commission, the developers outlined their vision for the approximate 31 acres, which eventually will be bounded on the south by a new I-15 interchange along 900 South.

Developers favor a big-box anchor store, some midsize retail and offices, three restaurants and more on the site along with numberous 20-foot trees.

"We're excited about our project," said Mike Ostermiller, an attorney representing the developers. "We want a hallmark destination location. We want this to be the best in the city."

Fort Lane was Layton's first shopping center in the mid-1960s but has become dilapidated.

Ostermiller said the area needs unique, high-end boutique-type businesses, which Layton doesn't have.

He stressed the project will be extremely expensive. Water features and other extras are on the developer's wish list, if it can afford them.

Dan Vanzeben, architect for the development, said putting the big-box store at the southwest corner of the long, triangular property would minimize its presence and height. Restaurants wouuld be located along 1-15.

Gentile Street would have a storefront area, while Fort Lane would be tree-lined and more buffered. The entire development would have an old downtown street flavor.

Three roundabouts in the development would smooth traffic flow, similar to ones at Kimball Junction's Outlet Stores.

Adam Hawkes, a commercial agent for NIA Utah, said the economy and real estate conditions make it impossible to know what to put on the property.

"The market will dictate what happens here," he said.

A CP-2 commercial zone is in place now at Fort Lane. City staff favor a mixed-use zone that would also allow residential. The developers disagree.

"No one likes to live next to a noisy freeway," Hawkes said. "I don't see any type of residential (there)."

He advised city leaders not to restrict options for the property. He also doesn't favor too many people-gathering features for the development, saying that like at Salt Lake's Gateway, they will come primarily to shop.

What do residents think of the vision for Fort Lane Village?

"This is my neighborhood," Doug Barker said. "I'm very impressed with this. I have no problem with a big-box (store) being there. An anchor is required."

Other area residents at the meeting also said they liked the plan but wonder how Gentile and Fort Lane — both two-lane roads — can handle more traffic.

Most of the Fort Lane property is owned by Rep. Kevin Garn, R-Layton.


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