At the crossroads of Interstate 15, Highway 89, Legacy Highway and the Frontrunner Commuter Rail, a retail mecca is rising out of the ground – entering the market as the United States comes out of an economic recession. The $250 million Station Park open-air shopping center in Farmington will satiate a starvation for retail in Davis and Weber counties with more than 850,000 square feet of quality retail, restaurant and entertainment venues.
"Station Park should be what everyone is talking about," said Debby LaMotte, who was recently hired by CenterCal Properties as the general manager of Station Park. LaMotte will be responsible for the general management of the retail center – including the 400,000 square-foot Power Center, the Cinemark Theater, the park and the 400,000 square-foot Village Center, which is currently under construction. "This project is changing the whole retail landscape in Davis and Weber counties."
Photo courtesy of Dana Sohm
Development of Station Park began in 2008 with nearly $15 million in underground site utility work, said Craig Trottier, CenterCal's vice president of development at Station Park. However, as CenterCal, a joint company with the California State Teachers Retirement System, watched the economy collapse during that year, owners decided to stall development and wait for more stable ground to build the retail center. While they waited, CenterCal tweaked their plans for Station Park. They completely redesigned the park portion of the development, situating it directly in front of the Cinemark Theater, and incorporating a $2.5 million animated fountain designed by Lifescapes International, the same firm behind the Bellagio Fountain and gardens in Las Vegas. By 2010, CenterCal was ready to revive the project with Harmons Grocery Stores and Cinemark Theater agreeing to lead the construction as anchors in the project.
In May 2011, Harmons held its largest grand opening in the chain's history. Cinemark Theaters opened shortly thereafter, as did Sports Authority, Ross, Home Goods, Marshalls, Tilly's and ULTA Cosmetics, which make up the Power Center of the project. Residents of Farmington, Centerville and South Layton, who hadn't seen a retail center of this size open since the Layton Hills Mall in the 70s, welcomed the Power Center at Station Park with open arms, said Trottier.
"We think our timing was perfect," Trottier said. "There are so few of these types of projects going on across the country. We have the attention of retailers who are looking to open a select few stores. Retailers love the trade area. They love the project. They see the quality of what we are putting in. Retailers understand this is a place where they can be successful."
Station Park will offer luxuries that are appealing to the local demographic which is largely made up of affluent and upscale households. These luxuries include gourmet food, up-scale restaurants and high-end apparel stores.
CenterCal is working on the next phase of the project with construction of the $10 million park and the 400,000 square-foot Village. The park itself will be a world-class facility and will be finished in May, said Trottier. The animated fountain will be surrounded by mature trees, an ice rink (that was installed and used earlier this year), a children's play area and outdoor seating. The 15-screen Cinemark Theater and the park will act as the anchor of the Village, driving business to the restaurants that bookend the entrance of the theater and the future retail that will be built north of the site. The restaurants, which have been enclosed in retractable NanaWalls, will be open air venues during the summer months, inviting patrons to eat and enjoy the outdoor atmosphere.
Some of the restaurants are on track to open in May 2012. The completion of these buildings will be followed by the construction of the first buildings in the Village. The rest of the project, including an office building and hotel, will be constructed throughout the year with plans of completion in 2013.
"In the last nine months, we have opened 400,000 square feet of retail. During that time, the leases were executed and the buildings were built," Trottier said. "This is one of the largest retail projects in the country currently under construction. This should be big news in the state and the Intermountain states. There aren't a half a dozen projects around the country of this size that have been developed in the last year."
The Village will be built using the same quality construction, amenities and architecture – a CenterCal trademark – used in the finest projects in the country. Sustainable features will be implemented throughout the project, with plans to certify the future office space as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Careful attention has been given to details such as the light poles and garbage cans which are made of Italian NERI. Real brick is being used on the exterior of the buildings, and clay tile has been laid on the roofs.
"We are long-term owners," said Trottier, explaining that CenterCal will retain ownership of the development for the next 30 or 40 years. "We want to make sure we are proud of the development, not just the day it opens, but 10, 20, 30 years from now. We spend more money on architecture and landscaping and amenities so it holds its value and maintains its competitive position in the market."
LaMotte will be managing the entire development for CenterCal, although her responsibilities will vary depending on the type of tenant. LaMotte will be marketing the property as a whole, but managing each tenant individually, based upon their needs. The big box stores, such as Harmons, will operate a little more independently from CenterCal, she said. The Village will require more attention, she added. LaMotte will also be responsible for events at the development. Included in the program are a summer concert series, a Girls' Night Out, Family Fun Days, holiday tree lighting ceremony, charity shopping, summer camp for kids and year-round live music.
"We are not building a shopping center; we are building an experience," said Trottier. "We want people to come here and feel like they are having a special experience. We want them to come and spend the day, have lunch, browse the shops, sit around the fountain and have a gelato or a coffee – just enjoy the environment."
Station Park Home to Harmons' 14th Store
Photo courtesy of Dana Sohm
Harmons Grocery Stores' first store in Davis County brought many firsts to the community when it opened on May 2, 2011. Harmons' new Station Park store, 200 N. Station Parkway in Farmington, was the first retailer to open in the development, the first grocery store in Davis County to have its own full-time registered dietitian on site and the first locally-owned chain to offer an on-site cooking school.
Harmons Farmington store offers a veritable paradise of fresh foods for local residents and Front Runner commuters to pick up and take home or eat on site, including made-to-order signature sandwiches featuring meats roasted on site; Harmons' freshly baked-from-scratch artisan breads made with organic flour; fresh pizza made daily at the store; popular Asian food dishes at the wok bar; chef-prepared entrees from the large delicatessen case; a full salad bar with freshly-cut vegetables and proteins; and an olive bar and a variety of homemade soups. The 69,381 square-foot store has an in-store barista serving freshly-brewed coffee from Café Ibis of Logan, Utah, Italian gelato and specialty pastries. Both the main and mezzanine levels feature seating areas. Harmons' large gourmet cheese island features cheese mongers and a selection of 150 to 200 imported and domestic varieties. The Station Park store has a fresh seafood counter and a large custom meat counter where meat cutters prepare Harmons' own varieties of fresh sausages and brats, dry aged and fresh ground beef each day.
Harmons expressed appreciation to Station Park developers and business partners, CenterCal Properties LLC, and store construction partners including R&O Construction, Prescott Muir Architects, Uintah Refrigeration and Electrical and Décor Works Inc. The local grocery chain opened its 15th store, Harmons' Emigration Market, in southeast Salt Lake City in June 2011, and its 16th store in February 2012, an urban grocery store in Salt Lake City's City Creek development.
For more information visit www.harmonsgrocery.com