ST. GEORGE — Parcels of city-owned property around 100 West and St. George Boulevard are being eyed for future redevelopment by the St. George City Council.
Exactly what that development will look like remains to be seen as officials prepare to issue an invitation to developers to submit their own vision for the downtown parcel.
An overall goal of the council for the area is to see it become an additional commercial draw and gathering place in downtown St. George.
The St. George Council met in a work session Thursday afternoon to discuss the future of the city-owned parcels west of Ancestor Square on St. George Boulevard. This covered the former location of the St. George Inn, which was torn down earlier this year, as well as some businesses that currently reside on the neighboring block. This includes Premiere Auto, Oakes Family Auto and Hooray! Engraving.
Shirlayne Quayle, the city’s economic vitality and housing director, gave the council a short history of the city’s recent involvement with the area. It started in winter 2016 when the city purchased the parcels where the former St. George Inn and Bicycle Collective once resided.
Original plans for the property fell through with the city going on to purchase the parcels where the auto dealerships and engraving store sit between 2020 and 2021.
Following the additional purchases, the City Council met in spring 2021 to discuss its plans for the property.
“The consensus of the council is that they would like to generate new revenue, but more importantly, to accommodate the needs of the community and to create a comfort level or people wanting to visit the downtown area,” according to minutes taken from the council’s March 4, 2021, meeting.
The redevelopment and continual vitalization of downtown St. George has been an ongoing project for city officials for decades. Playing a part in this has been the construction of the mixed-use City View and Joule Plaza projects, as well as the creation of the St. George Children’s Museum and renovation of the Electric Theater nearly a decade ago.
City officials have long held the belief that if the downtown isn’t attractive and alive with activity, it serves as an overall reflection of the state of the city as a whole.
Another mixed-use project has been proposed by developers for the corner of 300 West and St. George Boulevard that was tabled in a recent City Council meeting due to height concerns.
A goal of the council’s work meeting Thursday was to provide Quayle some general guidelines for a “request for proposal,” or RFP, that could be issued to interested developers.
According to Investopedia.com, an RFP is described as “a business document that announces a project, describes it, and solicits bids from qualified contractors to complete it.”
Councilwoman Danielle Larkin – who attended the meeting electronically due to illness – said whichever project takes hold in the area should help energize and invigorate downtown St. George and also provide the highest use for property possible.
The project also should focus more on commercial ventures than downtown housing, Councilman Jimmie Hughes said. It would be the opposite of mixed-use projects like Joule Plaza and City View, which have commercial and office space on the first floors of their buildings and apartments on the floors above them.
“Housing’s not going to be our No. 1 ask,” Hughes said.
Councilman Gregg McArthur suggested the project could tie into neighboring Ancestor Square and also echoed Hughes’ words about keeping a housing component low-priority. Both McArthur and Mayor Michele Randall said the overall property should stay together as one cohesive unit, rather than potentially be split in two halves with 100 West as the dividing line.
Near the conclusion of the discussion, the council agreed that keeping the RFP as general as possible to invite innovation and variety in proposals was the best route for the property. Quayle said she’d be able to send out the RFP soon with a deadline set around the start of November.
“The main goal is to get that something awesome downtown,” McArthur said.
Randall said she expects a good response to the RFP as over 70 parties had already expressed interest in redeveloping the property.
“I’m happy so many people are interested,” she said. “We’re moving up.”
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