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Roy leaders push ahead with downtown redevelopment efforts

By Tim Vandenack - | Oct 27, 2023
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Roy officials are taking steps to bolster development along 1900 West in the city, shown here on Oct. 5, 2023.
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Roy officials are taking steps to bolster development in a 67-acre area off the east side of 1900 West in the city, south of Riverdale Road to 5950 South. The right side of the image shows the zone. The left side is the legal description of the area.
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Roy officials are taking steps to bolster development along 1900 West in the city. This image from city documents shows part of the area now and the vision for the future.

ROY — Roy officials have long debated how to spur growth in the city’s downtown area, basically the commercial strip along 1900 West between Riverdale Road and 5600 South.

In 2021, the Roy City Council updated the city’s zoning guidelines governing the area to allow for a combination of commercial, office and residential development, a big first step in redevelopment efforts. Now, officials are in the process of creating a special redevelopment zone encompassing the area that would help generate an estimated $24.92 million in tax funds over 20 years to further spur development, another key step in the process.

“Part of what we’re really trying to do is make that a downtown area where people want to be,” said Brody Flint, assistant city manager for community and economic development in Roy.

The 1900 Southeast CRA, or community redevelopment area, covers some 67 acres off the east side of 1900 West from Riverdale Road on the north to 5950 South on the south, Roy’s “core commercial district,” Flint said.

“It’s a rather blighted area. In other words, not a lot has happened there for a long time,” Weber School District Business Administrator Robert Petersen said earlier this month when school officials signed off on the plans.

As is, the area is characterized by fast food outlets, other restaurants, deteriorating parking lots, auto shops, and stores and other retail outlets. Harmons Grocery sits on the northern end of the proposed redevelopment area while the Interstate 15 corridor lies further to the east.

Per the vision outlined in Southeast CRA documents, though, city leaders see perhaps $218.86 million worth of new development over 20 years with creation of the redevelopment district. That would take shape of around 850 new housing units — apartments and townhomes — and more than 430,000 square feet of commercial and office space, according to city plans.

“A place to live, work, play. Something to be proud of for Roy,” Rob Sant, a consultant for Roy on the plans, told school officials at the Oct. 4 meeting when they gave the plans their approval. A portion of the $24.92 million in tax-increment finance, or TIF, funds to be generated would potentially be used to help build a parking garage in the area.

Sant said figuring big in the city’s vision is development of the Roy Innovation Center by Northrop Grummon near the northern end of Hill Air Force Base just to the east. The defense giant is spearheading development of the multibillion-dollar Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program to replace the Minuteman III ICBM system, an initiative expected to create 5,000 jobs.

Those people, Sant said, “are looking for places to live.”

Beyond that, city officials think the estimated $24.92 million in TIF funds to be funneled into the project area will help spur private-sector interest.

Roy City Councilperson Joe Paul, for one, said creation of the redevelopment zone is vital.

“Our downtown needs help,” he said at last week’s Roy City Council meeting, when city leaders unanimously approved the plans. “If we don’t create an environment for businesses to thrive, they’re not coming here. Riverdale Road looks more appealing than 1900 in Roy, unfortunately.”

Nearby Riverdale Road in Riverdale is a key commercial thoroughfare that officials say hinders development interest in adjacent Roy.

Flint said development would occur over the long haul, but interested parties are waiting in the wings for approval of the varied agreements needed to create the new redevelopment district in Roy. “There are multiple developers looking into projects in the proposed Southeast CRA as well as areas near it along 1900 West. Currently, many of the potential developers are waiting to see what the final project area and its TIF budget will look like before they make final decisions to move on their proposed projects,” he said.

Though city documents outline potential housing, commercial and office development, private developers will have a big hand in specifics. “The developers will decide what is torn down and replaced and what is upgraded. I think there will be a mixture of both brand new buildings and upgrading existing buildings with newer uses as more projects get started in the area,” Flint said.

In redevelopment districts, property tax revenue generated by new development within its confines is funneled back to the project area for use on infrastructure and other improvements. Property tax funding from the base property valuation in the zone would still go to the taxing units.

The key taxing entities serving the zone and estimated property tax revenue funneled from them to the project area over the 20-year term of the proposal are the Weber School District, $14.31 million; Weber County, $4.99 million; Roy, $3.85 million; and the North Davis Sewer District, $1.21 million.

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District officials were to consider signing off on the plans at a meeting later Thursday. Weber County commissioners were to consider the plans at their meeting next Tuesday. All other entities, including Weber School District, the City of Roy and the North Davis Sewer District, have already given the plans a green light.

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