ST. GEORGE – A long-awaited $40-plus million project in the heart of downtown St. George broke ground this week. Named “City View” by developers, the mixed-use development is touted as a critical part of the city’s ongoing efforts to keep the downtown a prime destination for residents and visitors.
“This is a fulfillment of a dream,” St. George City Manager Gary Esplin said, “because to me the most important part of your community, and the heart of your community, is the downtown.”
The planning for the project started in 2011 and came to fruition Wednesday as developers and city officials took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking along Tabernacle Street next to the Green Gate Village.
Set on the city block west of Main Street between Tabernacle Street and St. George Boulevard, the City View project will consist of three buildings, a parking structure and public plaza tying it into the Green Gate Village.
Facing Tabernacle Street and stretching into the heart of the block behind the businesses facing Main Street will be a mixed-use, five-story, 66-unit apartment complex with a mix of studio and 1-3 room apartments. Set at the corner of Main Street and St. George Boulevard will be a 60-room boutique hotel called “The Advenire” that will be neighbor to another mixed-use, 44-unit apartment complex.
The Advenire is touted as an upscale hotel attached to the Marriott brand.
The ground floors of the 44- and 66-unit buildings will also come with a combined 7,800-square feet of retail space.
“This is a critical project for the downtown,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “I think it will send a great message that downtown is the place to be for shopping, for restaurants and to live.”
City View is anticipated to tie into the city’s developing Tech Ridge project, Pike said, as well as its incoming bike-share program.
With apartment rents slated between $900 and $1,600, Pike and developers said a target demographic are millennials and baby boomers who will want to live downtown and not want a house.
Being in the middle of town will put potential future employees of Tech Ridge closer to work, while also promoting the ability to walk or bike to places around town, hence the tie to the city’s bike-share program.
Revitalizing downtown St. George has been a decades-long project for the city, Pike and Esplin said.
Esplin in particular, has been a vocal advocate for keeping the downtown a vibrant and primary destination for residents and visitors. He has often said that the state of a city’s overall health can be judged on the state of its downtown.
Rejuvenating the downtown area has also been a career-spanning goal for Esplin, who became the city manager 41 years ago this month. He is set to retire in early February.
The City View project is one that has been “very near and dear to my heart,” Esplin said, adding the development “solidifies the future of our downtown.”
Cameron Gunter, CEO of PEG Development, said his company is excited to be a part of the city’s efforts to make the downtown a prime destination.
“It’s really bringing back to the downtown what the downtown was in the old days,” Gunter said, noting that suburban development throughout the years has drawn people away from once vibrant downtown areas.
“We like the fact we’re bringing it all back to the downtown,” he said.
The development is being built within the boundaries of a CDA, or community development area, created by the city of St. George in mid-2016. The area covers 40 acres in which St. George, the Washington County School District and Washington County Water Conservancy District have agreed to freeze the amount of property taxes at their current rate over a 15-year period.
Tax increases above that base rate will be collected by a redevelopment agency – in this case, the city – and applied retroactively to developers or companies once they achieve certain benchmarks.
Money from the CDA will help cover the cost of the incoming 238-stall parking structure once it’s built, Pike said.
The parking structure, which will be underground, will be built first along with the mixed-use apartment complex on Tabernacle Street, Gunter said. The area is slated to be completed by late fall/early winter 2018 with work on the other mixed-used building and hotel starting soon after.
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