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Orem celebrates rebirth of Midtown Village project

By Genelle Pugmire daily Herald - | Oct 29, 2014
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People watch as the groundbreaking of the north Midtown 360 building begins, in Orem on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. Orem dignitaries, firms and investors involved with the reinvention of the long-stalled project, attended.

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People roam through apartments on the top floor of the south building of Midtown 360, an apartment building in Orem, during a media tour on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014.

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Orem city dignitaries, investors and contractors raise their golden shovels in the air after digging the ceremonial first shovels of dirt at Midtown 360's north building, in Orem on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. GRANT HINDSLEY, Daily Herald

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A rendering shows how Midtown 360 should look upon completion from the northwest side.

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A rendering shows how Midtown 360 should look upon completion from the southwest side.

OREM – City officials and other dignitaries are celebrating the rebirth of the Midtown Village project, now called Midtown 360, following a re-groundbreaking and press conference Wednesday.

The project, which began in 2004, now has an aggressive construction schedule managed by the partnership of The Ritchie Group and Allen Kreutzkamp. The sale of the property closed last week.

Kreutzkamp said the development will have the south tower completed in six months. The north tower will be finished within 18 months.

The entire project — with the addition of west-side apartment buildings — is expected to be complete within the next three to five years. Big D Construction will be the contractor leading the work.

The Midtown Village project started in 2004 as a mixed-use development. Hale Center Theater Orem had planned to build a new theater on site. But by 2007, the real estate market plummeted and the development went into bankruptcy, then foreclosure.

“This has been many months in coming,” said Paul Ritchie of The Ritchie Group. “I’ve driven by many times over several years and asked myself what happened. Until a year ago, I didn’t understand the history.”

Ritchie said a lot of people were hurt over the years. Several lenders lost money and were taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Fannie Mae could no longer buy the paper on the project.

“It was not feasible to go forward,” Ritchie said. “There was three years of litigation, and a lot of other reasons why it took so long.”

That said, Wednesday was understandably a day for celebration, particularly by Mayor Richard Brunst, who introduced Kruetzkamp to the project while he was still campaigning last year.

“A year ago while I was running for office, I was asked every day about the eyesore on State Street,” Brunst said. “My campaign promise today is solved.

“This is going to be a premier project for Orem. It is fully funded from the start. They’re ready to go.”

It was Big D Construction that held on to the dream and saved the project from complete ruin and demolition. With more than 19 developers denied, The Ritchie Group proved to be the right group with the right financing and backing.

“It has been quite a journey,” said Rob Moore, of Big D Construction. “It has been a long battle, but we never gave up. I’m a big fan of never giving up.

“This project is back. This project deserves it.”

“This is huge,” said Rona Rahlf, president of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We are thrilled to see the business it will bring to the valley.”

Midtown 360 will feature apartments with one, two and three bedrooms, businesses and resident amenities. The colors and architectural finishes reflect an urban feel with the use of greys, taupe, tans and browns, grained wood and steel with accents of pale blue. Nearly every apartment will have its own balcony, large windows, granite counters and stainless steel appliances.

“Our goal is to make sure what was started is finished, and that this site becomes one of the premier residential and commercial spots to live and do business,” said Ryan Ritchie, founder of The Ritchie Group. “The term 360 connotes a complete turnaround, which symbolizes the transformation about to take place at Midtown 360.”

When complete, the project will feature 550 residential units, 60,000 square feet of Class A retail space, and amenities including a community library, fitness center, indoor basketball court, rooftop lounge and central atrium in both towers.

“If you look at Midtown 360’s current tenants, you can see the site location is obviously set up for success,” said Lew Cramer, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Intermountain, in a prepared statement.

Businesses that may be attracted to the area include a corner market, hair salon, daycare center, dental offices, dry cleaners and other outlets that would be central to the needs of those living in the complex and for the entire community.

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