BOUNTIFUL — A sorely needed economic boost to the city will be in place by year's end as new retail and commercial businesses are developed on the site of the former Five Points Mall.

The City Council this week approved $6.4 million in bonds for the construction of an underground parking garage on the site, now called the Renaissance Towne Centre, between 1500 and 1800 South and 200 West and Main.

The old Five Points Mall, dating back more than 40 years, has fallen on hard times in recent years as new retail space has been opened in the north part of Bountiful and in West Bountiful.

On Tuesday, Mayor Joe Johnson will swing a wrecking ball to knock down the north wall of the mall to officially mark the end of the old mall and the beginning of the MountainWest Medical Center, the first phase of the project.

Developer Bruce Broadhead, managing member of the Renaissance Towne Centre LLC, said he and his partners are attempting to create a suburban feel in a downtown area with the mixed-use development, something he said is an outgrowth of an architectural style known as "new urbanism."

"Mixed use gives you greater synergy," Broadhead said. "We're taking some urban concepts and putting them in a suburban area and creating a gathering place with an urban feel. By mixing uses, we'll be able to take a population base of 120,000 people and make it larger than its natural economic base."

The center will feature a $23 million five-story building, the MountainWest Medical Center, with two floors of retail space and three of medical. The building will not be designed to look like a traditional medical center, Broadhead said.

Johnson said the 16-acre site is one of the last pieces of land that can be developed commercially in the city, and "after all these years I'm thrilled it's finally happening. With Xcel coming up quickly and the docs moving over, I believe it's the beginning of something good.

"I'd love to see a couple of nice restaurants and maybe a theater. Bountiful and the surrounding cities will support good restaurants and stores," Johnson said. Broadhead expects the center will have five or six restaurants when completed.

A $5 million sports complex is under construction across 1500 South for Xcel Spa and Fitness. Within a year, the Renaissance Towne Centre will have an estimated value of $42 million, and when it is fully built, Broadhead expects its value to be close to $100 million. The project will have about 300,000 square feet of retail space. The medical building footprint is 232 by 90 feet, almost a half acre, Broadhead said.

Davis County has the lowest sales tax revenue of the state's four major counties, and this project will give south Davis County an economic shot in the arm, Broadhead said.

"Most retail shopping today is done after 4 o'clock and on Saturdays and Sundays, whereas use of office space is high from nine to five Monday through Friday," he said.

Seventy percent of working people in south Davis County leave the county every day to work somewhere else, he said. "If you ask why we don't have more quality restaurants in south Davis, it's because so many jobs leave the area every day and the solution is to bring the jobs back. Restaurants need two sittings six days a week to survive."

Bountiful is under-retailed for both its demographics and population, City Manager Tom Hardy said. He said the city is not on the hook for the bonds as one, a lease-revenue bond, will be paid back from increased taxes and the other is a special improvement bond that is secured by a lien on the property.

Broadhead is proud that few of the materials from the former mall will end up in a landfill. The lumber has been saved and sold, concrete and asphalt are being crushed and will be used for fill on site.


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