LEHI — While anticipation for the opening of Cabela's grows to a fever pitch, the Lehi Planning Commission approved the next big thing Thursday night — a 40-acre development that will include a Costco and a Lowe's.
"We're excited," said Heather Miller, director of the Lehi Chamber of Commerce. "It's good business to have these stores here."
The approval came after months of effort by Planning Commission officials to secure a satisfactory location. Officials ran into a snag when the land chosen by Costco turned out to straddle the border between Lehi and American Fork.
A land swap agreement, required by Costco because it was unwilling to develop in two communities, solved that problem.
According to an agreement, Lehi will annex the land needed for Costco. In return, the city will give two parcels on State Street to American Fork, along with $200,000.
Finding a place for the two businesses in Lehi was a priority for Lehi officials.
"For years, the general public has asked for a closer place to shop," said Lehi City Councilman Mark I. Johnson. "Costco has been one store that has been specifically mentioned so this is advantageous."
Johnson said exact projections for the economic impact of the two stores have not been made but said approximately 1 percent of the tax revenue earned by the stores will go to Lehi, which should make a significant contribution to the city's tax base.
On top of the increased tax revenue, Miller said the number of jobs the two stores will create could be in the hundreds, and those jobs will have a ripple effect through the growing north Utah County city.
Although residents welcome the new developments, some who attended city meetings last week raised concern over certain issues of planning. Among those were a lack of privacy for nearby homeowners and increased traffic on nearby roads.
Johnson recognized their concerns but said the traffic the stores bring will be off peak hours and should not overburden existing roads and neighborhoods.
According to Johnson, city officials have been working hard in the past two years to bring retailers to Lehi, as evidenced by the impending arrival of Cabela's, the outdoor supplies juggernaut that is expected to bring 400 jobs and 4 million customers within its first year.
But for Johnson and others, Cabela's, Costco and Lowe's are only a beginning.
"We're excited to see this development, and we hope to see more of this in the future," he said. "I think Lehi is being set up well for this."
Similar announcements could be in the near future. Although she declined to elaborate, Miller said plans for other retail developments are in the works.