University Mall officially become University Place 6

A rendering of the completed University Place development project, looking to the East from University Parkway and State Street. Courtesy.

It has been five years since the Orem City Council and the Woodbury Corp. came to an agreement on a Commercial Development Area that would transform the University Mall to University Place.

On Tuesday, the council was given a five-year update on what has happened, what’s in the works and what is yet to come.

With Best Western taking over the Courtyard by Marriott building on Freedom Boulevard in Provo, Arthur Woodbury, vice president, confirmed that the Courtyard will be moving to the University Place campus.

Construction on the hotel will begin in the first quarter of next year. It will be located at the former Utah Transit Authority bus hub on the east side of the campus on 800 East at about 1000 South.

More than 70 apartments called the Exton, being built around the current parking terrace, will be ready for leasing in February. It will include a rooftop terrace. A new main entrance into the mall area from the parking terrace has already been completed.

The Devon apartments across from Costco are preleasing and will open in November.

Another parking terrace with a four-story class A office space built above the terrace is on the future schedule, as well as a redesign of the old Macy’s store for a yet-to-be named-anchor store.

Homes purchased on the north side of the campus have been demolished, the land has been cleared and everything has been prepared for the building of the new Hale Center Theater Orem.

According to Ryan Clark, director of Community Services, high-level donors to the theater need to see something from the city that shows it supports the theater by way of a resolution.

Woodbury has donated $1 million to get the theater going. Philanthropists Alan and Karen Ashton and the Barbara Barrington Jones Foundation are waiting for the city support.

The support will come in the way of a 30-year bond that the city can get at a lower interest rate. According to Jamie Davidson, city manager, the Hale Theater cannot obtain complete financing by themselves.

Similar to the Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy, Orem would own 50% of the theater and Hale would lease from them and pay back the bond.

As a failsafe, the theater is a large grant recipient of the CARE Tax and the money from that could be used to offset any lack of payment that might occur, according to Councilman Sam Lentz.

University Mall to University Place

In late 2013, the Orem City Council approved the zone change that would allow Woodbury, the owners of the mall, to redevelop 133.6 acres at the mall campus and rename it University Place.

The project was calculated to cost $500 million when completed. It would be built as demand arose over an 8- to 10-year period of time.

The project is ahead of schedule.

The first phase or benchmark would include infrastructure, rerouting roads, an office building, parking and apartments.

The CDA would be a post-performance subsidy that would allow build-out of the campus. That first benchmark has been achieved.

It is now Orem’s turn to pay back the $20 million agreed upon at completion of that first benchmark.

The CDA will last another 17 years. There are five taxing entities involved in the CDA: Orem, Utah County, Alpine School District; Central Water Conservancy District and Metropolitan Water Board. All five voted to give their approval to the CDA.

All entities have reported to the city they have already received benefits from choosing to participate in the project, according to Clark.

As University Place continues to grow, transportation and ease of mobility around the campus are a concern.

“Transportation areas are on our watch list,” Davidson said. “We will maintain and improve traffic.”

Davidson said it is anticipated that the light at 1200 South — the entrance between Trader Joes and Texas Roadhouse in front of the old Macy’s store — will move north to 1150 South/Park Avenue (on the campus). Another light will go in at 800 East at the new hotel location.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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