ST. GEORGE – The future site of Joule Plaza, a mixed-use project that has been in the works for many years, played host to a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday. Estimated to be completed by summer 2019, the project will feature both residential and commercial space.
“It’s exciting to have another mixed-use project go up in the downtown area,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “This will have approximately 197 apartments of different sizes (and) it’ll have retail on the ground floor. … It should be a really nice project to draw people downtown.”
The project is located across the street from the 5th District Courthouse on Tabernacle Street, dominating much of the block between 200 and 300 West, and covers approximately 4 acres.
It will feature 19,100 square feet of commercial space, as well as offer amenities for residents that aren’t generally available in the downtown area.
Joule Plaza will sport three four-story buildings and consist of studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments. According to the project’s website, the apartments will have high-end features like granite counter tops, wood plank tile, balconies and high-speed fiber internet. It will also include common areas, a fitness center for residents and a pool.
Joule Plaza was the first mixed-use development proposed for downtown St. George, said Wes Davis, developer and broker for NAI Excel. The project itself has “been a long time coming,” he said.
While the nearby City View mixed-use project may have broken ground first, the Joule Plaza project was proposed around seven or eight years ago and went through several design revisions until the idea of a mixed-use development was settled on.
“As we began to sit down with people who knew the economy of St. George, what the area really needed, it began to really blossom that apartments, some good apartments, were very, very much needed in St. George,” Randy Wilkinson, whose family owns the land Joule Plaza is to be built upon, said.
The overall idea of having mixed-use projects in the downtown area is to promote more activity in what is considered by city officials to be the “heart of the city.”
The state of a city’s downtown is seen as a gauge of the city’s overall health. With this philosophy in mind, St. George’s elected officials often promote ways to keep the downtown bustling with activity.
“We’re hoping we could see a few projects like this come to fruition to bring more people downtown, that want to live, work and play in the same general area,” Pike said. “We’re really looking forward to this (mixed-use) concept and having more restaurants (and) more retail right here within walking distance of a lot of employers, and of course, to keep our downtown vibrant.”
The property, which has been in the Wilkinson family since 1950, was the site of the original Wilkinson House of Lighting store prior to the business moving across town. The old building was destroyed in a July 2017 fire.
The city of St. George has been a huge supporter of the project, Davis said, adding that city staff and developers have worked closely together to make the project a reality. Moving the development along was also said to have been a factor in helping to create a tax-incentive zone for new development in the downtown area in July 2016.
“I’m really excited to see it coming together,” Davis said.
The estimated value of the project is between $32 million and $34 million, Wilkinson said.
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