Clearfield officials hope apartment project spurs downtown revitalization

Saturday , April 29, 2017 - 12:00 AM

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner Staff

CLEARFIELD — Clearfield’s future could be blooming from a plot of land where a Taco Time once stood.

Rising from a parcel off State Street, across from Clearfield City Hall, is a four-story structure — the City Centre Apartments building — that’s key in efforts to revitalize the city’s heart and commercial corridor. The city has a strong industrial sector, underscored by the many manufacturers at the Freeport Center. But lacking, some worry, has been a distinctive central district, a downtown area that draws people and fosters a sense of community.

The land off the west side of State Street where City Centre is taking shape, once home to a Taco Time and an auto parts store, “was just not being used at the highest and best use,” assistant city manager J.J. Allen said. “We saw an opportunity to help create our downtown, which is really the point.”

To be sure, the $14 million City Centre project — to house 123 one- and two-bedroom apartments and 4,500 square-feet of commercial space — won’t do the job of revitalizing Clearfield alone. The city crafted a 28-page report last year, Creating Downtown Clearfield, that envisions new development and a reimagining of the area along the State Street/Main Street corridor as a place where people congregate, shop and interact.

Main and State streets converge on one another and the corridor is the main north-south drag through Clearfield.

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Even so, Allen said the City Centre project is a key component in the efforts, calling it “one of the first, key accomplishments” in the downtown initiative. The broader downtown effort focuses on the Main/State stretch from 100 North southeast to around the FrontRunner stop at Clearfield Station, where another apartment complex is planned.

Cristina Wilson with Logan-based Highmark Construction, the contractor handling the City Centre project, sees the complex drawing younger working people and couples. It’ll contain a dog park and other pet amenities and she foresees a bakery, perhaps, occupying the commercial space.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be one of a kind,” she said. Work started last November and is expected to be finished by this coming November.

Both Wilson and Allen expect the tenants drawn to the complex, perhaps some from Hill Air Force Base, to foster yet more commercial development, bolstering development that much more. “I do believe a project of this magnitude, it’s going to attract more people to the area,” Wilson said.

Clearfield Station apartments

Other smaller scale upgrades of late, Allen said, have been the reconstruction of a gas station and the addition of a discount store on the northern edge of the corridor. Two other redeveloped plots await tenants.

Also in the works is the nine-building, 216-unit Clearfield Station apartment complex around the southern endpoint of the corridor, west of 1000 East by the FrontRunner station. The developer, The Thackery Garn Co., has started clearing the ground, said Trevor Cahoon, communications coordinator for the city of Clearfield.

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Allen expects the first of the nine buildings housing the apartments to be completed in early 2018.

That apartment project was to have been part of a grander redevelopment around the FrontRunner station in partnership with the Utah Transit Authority. But it’s since been scaled back as the UTA has distanced itself from the Layton-based developer. A rep from Thackery Garn did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Simultaneously, Clearfield is pursuing acquisition of UTA land around the FrontRunner station so it can transfer the property to Stadler Rail for development of a train manufacturing plant. That project, focus of discussion last Wednesday by the UTA board, doesn’t figure in the city’s Creating Downtown Clearfield initiative, though it underscores city leaders’ efforts to bolster Clearfield’s fortunes.

RELATED: Stadler Rail train plant boosters lobby for sale of UTA land to Clearfield

But there are other efforts aside from the two apartment projects that are linked to the downtown development initiative. The 2016 report on the effort speaks of the Main/State corridor as a “string of pearls,” with different development potential in the varying stretches. Allen hints at deals in the works, deals he can’t yet talk about. But he seems cautiously optimistic.

“It’s never a done deal until they’ve signed on the dotted line,” he said.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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