OREM — The Orem City Council approved a plan to allow the redesign of the University Mall Tuesday night.
The council re-zoned 112 acres to permit mixed-use development on the property. The Woodbury Corporation, which owns the mall, is planning to create office space, residential housing and a park, among other projects.
“I think the economic benefit to the city from additional property taxes and sales tax revenue will be awesome,” said Director of Development Kathy Olson. “We kind of hope that this area will turn into a central gathering place for Orem and give residents a place to come for a yearly Christmas tree lighting, Easter Egg hunts and picnics in the grass.”
The area that was rezoned spans 112 acres, 67 of which is currently being used as paved parking. Plans for the area include developing four office buildings and housing which will include apartments, condos, townhouses and flats. They are also looking to build a 120-room hotel, senior housing and a swim and tennis club.
“We’re pretty excited to re-develop that asphalt parking into something more economically beneficial to the city of Orem,” Olson said.
One of the main features of the development will be a park close to the size of two football fields. Olson said it will include a large children's play area and stage, which they hope, will host fashion shows and small jazz combos.
“We’re looking at programming that as kind of a central square for the city of Orem,” she said. “We’d like to have old movies in the park there, yoga classes in the grass and art fairs."
Rennovations to the existing mall will include replacing flooring and updating the mall commons. Some of the retail stores will be relocated and a new anchor will take the place of the space where Nordstrom was located.
The first phase of the development is expected to be an office building at the corner of University Parkway and State Street. Residential apartments will be built along 800 East.
Olson said the City of Orem has been helpful with providing information and they have been working with traffic specialists to see what they can do to mitigate traffic problems in the area.
The city council vote was not unanimous, with councilman Hans Andersen voting against the proposal.