CLEARFIELD — Just a few years back, 442 S. State St. in Clearfield wasn’t exactly regarded as a gem in the city.
“It was not a place to be and it had a reputation,” said Mayor Mark Shepherd. Law enforcement officials in both Davis and Weber counties, he said, were well aware of the address because of the suspicious activity common at the location, former site of Clearfield Mobile Home Park.
Now, though, Shepherd says a transformation is taking place. Officials and reps from Salt Lake City-based developer Lotus Company gathered Wednesday to break ground on the first phase of a new apartment and townhome development at the site, and the mayor said a new era looms. The initial phase calls for 243 living units, with 125 more planned for subsequent phases.
“This is set to be the heart of Clearfield,” he said. “We are recreating a city. We are bringing places for people to live.”
It’s not the only development in the city. Around 25 are in the works or moving forward, according to city officials, including the planned Clearfield Station development around the city’s FrontRunner station.
Even so, the Lotus development, spread over 15 acres, is a big one, central in city leaders’ vision of overhauling the city’s core area along State Street and creating something of a destination. Shepherd speaks of redeveloping a strip mall across State Street from the Lotus development and sprucing up the area around Mabey Pond to the rear of that.
Even so, it’s been a long, arduous process, complicated by efforts to aid the 50 or so families who had been living in the dilapidated mobile home park when the city acquired it in 2018. As part of the process, city leaders helped relocate the tenants, aiming to avoid the negative blowback that may have accompanied a forced ejection of the lower-income residents of the mobile home facility.
“We were able to place every family,” said Trevor Cahoon, communications coordinator for Clearfield. “They’re all in better situations.”
It hasn’t been without cost. The city bonded for $7 million as part of the Clearfield Mobile Home Park acquisition, according to Cahoon, using around $4.5 million of that to buy the property, about $1 million to clear the land and the rest, by and large, to aid with relocation of the families who had been living there.
Lotus acquired the land from Clearfield as part of a $2.68 million deal, according to minutes from the Sept. 15, 2020, Clearfield City Council meeting, when officials discussed the transaction.
A NET-ZERO PROJECT
The first phase of the Lotus plans, the focus of Wednesday’s ceremony, call for construction of an apartment complex housing 243 units, including 210 apartments and 33 three-bedroom town homes.
Project boosters are calling it “workforce housing,” geared to those with more moderate incomes, perhaps teachers, firefighters and airmen from Hill Air Force Base. Lotus is tapping financing available through the federal government’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, or LIHTC, which will allow for lower rents geared to those with more modest incomes.
Notably, it’ll be a net-zero project, with solar panels placed on top of the development’s buildings and parking stalls. The power generated will be more than what tenants living in the complex actually use, making for one of the state’s first net-zero multifamily apartment projects, said Joe Torman, the Lotus president. The project will also feature a track, playground and recreational facilities as well as a learning center operated in conjunction with the Davis School District.
As for the Clearfield Station plans, another large development project in the city, Shepherd said groundbreaking should occur “soon.” The city has bonded to help cover the cost of initial infrastructure work and development of roads and the water and sewer systems. The plans call for a mix of housing, office and commercial development at the Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner stop.
Clearfield was “kind of at a standstill,” built out with seemingly no room for new development, Shepherd said. But the new development projects breathe new life into the city, bode for more people and, as a result, more commercial development.