A small town in Utah with a future

Geneva Steel under construction 1942

Vineyard, Utah — The future is swiftly unfolding just to the north where Utah’s Geneva Steel once stood.

In a few short years, a huge development at the site will transform his hometown with a pulsing 1,700-acre complex of houses, apartments, town homes, stores, offices, factories, school buildings and a new town center.

Vineyard is expected to mushroom from about 465 residents to as many as 27,000 in less than a decade as a shortage of developable land and booming real-estate markets drive one of the most ambitious projects seen in Utah County. That’s a growth rate of more than 5,700 percent.

The development, dubbed @geneva, is meant to bring new life and value to one of the largest U.S. brownfields west of the Mississippi River…

Today, construction crews are finishing the first homes and paving the initial roads into what is envisioned as a blend of residential, commercial and industrial buildings worth upward of $3.2 billion. Final totals on office and retail space alone could top 5.6 million square feet, comparable in span to 30 Wal-Mart Supercenters…

Land-use blueprints call for single- and multifamily housing, lakefront properties, commercial districts, corporate headquarters, a Utah Valley University satellite campus, Larry H. Miller Megaplex Theatres, a transit hub centered on FrontRunner and, perhaps, TRAX, three Interstate 15 interchanges, nine stoplights and a town center rivaling those in nearby Orem and Provo.

Managers with Anderson Development, which acquired the site for $46.8 million in bankruptcy proceedings in 2005, are moving fast these days. More than half the roughly triangular @geneva footprint has sold to future builders, said Park, with many remaining parcels under contract or getting multiple bids.

Anderson and town officials both say their dealings are cooperative these days. Longtime Town Council member Sean Fernandez said Vineyard’s leaders, for their part, have scaled a steep learning curve.

For a long time we were somewhat skeptical, but we’ve really embraced it and tried to make it a nice development,” Fernandez said. “It’s a huge deal, especially for the residents who have grown up in Vineyard.”

The mayor and four-member council reluctantly created a Redevelopment Agency, or RDA, letting Vineyard bond for more than $300 million to put toward cleanup, developer incentives and new water, sewer and road amenities for the project… The town’s RDA debts will be paid off in increments with new tax monies drawn from @geneva’s upward impact on the site’s property values…

The kind of thing that can be developed in many a depressed area. All it takes is up-to-date planning, an educated population capable of providing workforce requirements, a local political structure that isn’t too greedy.

Well, OK. Maybe it is difficult to find somewhere to accomplish this.

Thanks, Mike

One thought on “A small town in Utah with a future

  1. Kip says:

    That is a great plan but the one thing not mentioned is where is the water coming from. I live in Austin and the C of C, the BBB and esp. Gov. Perry are beating the bushes to get industry to move here but the seem to have forgotten to tell the prospective clients that our reservoirs are down to only 35% capacity, have been for the last 4 years and there is little hope that they will rise above that for many years.

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