Saturday , January 06, 2018 - 5:00 AM
FARMINGTON — In Station Park, Farmington has one of the largest, most successful retail hubs in Northern Utah — a site that figures to provide jobs and send a steady stream of sales tax dollars into city coffers for years to come.
But as much of a boon as that development has been, officials say there’s still a mountain of untapped economic potential on an empty 300-acre swath of land immediately to the north.
“It’s very rare — in a spot like this, where you have this huge retail center and you’ll have three major roadways kind of converging — to have such a big chunk of undeveloped land,” said Farmington City Manager Dave Millheim. “So obviously, we want to make the most of it.”
The city is working as a gatekeeper on an effort to bring a large-scale, mixed-use business park to the segment of land, which in addition to its proximity to Station Park, is a stone’s throw from Interstate 15, U.S. 89 and the future West Davis Corridor.
If all goes as planned, the project would put one of the region’s largest employment centers right next to one of its largest commercial complexes.
Farmington Mayor Jim Talbot said completion of the project could still be decades away, but preliminary plans call for the land to be filled with a mix of office, retail, light commercial, residential and open space.
The city thinks the development could ultimately result in 10,000 jobs. By comparison, the Boyer Business Depot Ogden employs about 6,000.
The piece of land includes 29 separate parcels and 20 different property owners, but 10 of those property owners hold more than 92 percent of the total land. That majority group, which includes Farmington City, is on board to sell or lease land or otherwise contribute to the undertaking, Millheim said.
“That’s been difficult, getting all of these property owners on the same page,” he said. “It took some time, but we’ve done it.”
According to city documents associated with the plan, the project area is three times the size of Station Park in total acreage and is estimated to generate a property tax valuation four times larger.
Consultants hired by the city estimate when the project is built out, the assessed valuation for the area would total about $853 million.
Millheim said that figure only includes 267 acres of the area, omitting two parcels of land the city is still uncertain about. If those two parcels are added to the mix, the estimated future valuation would exceed $1 billion.
At the Farmington’s current property tax level, that valuation would give the city $2.23 million in new, yearly property tax revenue.
Millheim said sales tax revenues are harder to estimate, but those could be as high as $3 million to $5 million annually.
Talbot said the venture, which would include trails and parks, is in harmony with the city’s goal of making Farmington a place to “live, work and play.”
“This would help create a good, mixed housing stock, a strong tax base and jobs,” Millheim said. “Those are things that are essential to the health and success of a city.”
Construction timing will be market-driven, Millheim said, influenced by several factors including a Utah Department of Transportation plan to build a new I-15 interchange at Shepard Lane.
The $47 million project was funded last year when the Utah Legislature approved a bill that allows certain transportation projects to be accelerated by bonding for $1 billion
According to UDOT, the project is slated to start in 2023.
Farmington is pushing the state and the Legislature to move the project up and fund a $2 million arterial road that would connect it to the West Davis Corridor.
“That’s a really important piece of all this,” Millheim said.
Millheim said tax increment financing, which for a period of time sends property tax increase revenue back into projects to help finance them, could be part of the equation.
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