Large apartment complex, other development projects advance; concert approved for Sunbowl

Proposed site for the Grayhawk Apartments at River's Edge project marked by blue border. The proposed complex will feature 244 rental units and be the first large apartment complex built in the city since 2006. | Image courtesy of the City of St. George, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The City Council approved a zone change Thursday night that could pave the way for the first large apartment complex to be built in the city since 2006, approved residential expansion for SunRiver and approved a concert use for the SunBowl.

Greyhawk Apartments at River’s Edge

Located between Riverside Drive and 2450 East and set behind a church and Millcreek High School, the proposed apartment complex will help with demands for multifamily housing that have risen following the Great Recession, said Randy Rindlisbacher of Bach Homes.

Called the Grayhawk Apartments at River’s Edge, the complex will cover an area of 11.75 acres and contain 244 units spread across eight apartment buildings, some being four-stories high. The complex will also include a clubhouse, combined pool and splash pad, covered garage structures and two pavilions. Units would be rental-only, and not put up for sale.

The project will be the second of its kind in St. George for Bach Homes. The first was the Falls at Mesa Point apartments off South Mall Drive nearby.

In 2010, Rindlisbacher said, the list of distressed homes – either vacant homes or short sales – in Washington County was at 44 percent. Many of these homes were turned into rentals by their owners. This created a temporary oversupply of rentals. In some cases three-bedroom homes were being rented out for the same price as three-bedroom apartments, he said.

“Although demand would increase with population, supply was outpacing renters,” Rindlisbacher said, adding that it led to a nearly 10 percent vacancy rate in traditional apartment rentals in 2010.

Today the distressed home listing in the county is 2.9 percent. This has created a decrease in the availability of rental units as vacancy rates have gone from 10 percent during the recession to less than 2 percent vacancy, which might as well be zero-percent vacancy, Rindlisbacher said.

“At our projects, we’ve basically been 100-percent full for the last 14 months,” he said.

Rindlisbacher cited the NAI Utah South 2014 year-end market report for Washington County:

“Apartment vacancy rates continue to fall with fourth-quarter average vacancy nearly breaking below 2 percent. Multifamily remaining very tight, it will be difficult for vacancies to move lower given normal turnover …. Multifamily housing is underbuilt in Washington County.”

NAI Utah South is a commercial real estate research and consulting group.

There were some concerns related to parking issues from the Planning Commission that resulted in a recommended reduction of apartment units. However, after an exhaustive presentation from Rindlisbacher and a third-party consultant, the City Council felt reduction isn’t necessary.

City Manager Gary Esplin noted the developers would have to provide erosion protection as the project is in the city’s erosion hazard zone.

The City Council voted 4-1 to approve a zoning change allowing the project to move forward. Councilman Jimmie Hughes was the dissenting vote.

The project joins the growing residential and commercial developments cropping up in the area around Mall Drive Bridge since its completion last year.

SunRiver expansion

The City Council approved a request to rezone 76 acres of land southeast of the SunRiver community by Fire Station 8. Approximately 49 acres will be added to the SunRiver planned community for residential development. Part of the area was previously designated to become an RV park and ministorage. Some of the property along Pioneer Road was also rezoned to allow for commercial development near the Interstate 15 Exit 2 interchange.

The rezoning will allow developers to add 166 homes to the SunRiver community which currently consists of around 1,800 homes.

Other business – Zion Lions, SunBowl Plain White T’s concert

The City Council also approved an agreement with the semipro Zion Lions football team for use of the Dixie Sun Bowl for its games. The agreement is non-exclusive, meaning the facility will remain available for use by other parties during the season.

The Zion Lions first game is Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Vegas Hawks.

Applicants Simmons Media Group and St. George News use of the Dixie Sunbowl for a concert on April 16 featuring the Plain White T’s was also approved by the City Council.

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1 Comment

  • mmsandie April 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Great story and pics Dave, Margaret

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