It’s been more than 10 years for the Orem “eyesore.”
Midtown Village, recently rebranded as Midtown 360, is getting a new life as plans for its completion surfaced in the fall of 2014 after a lengthy stall that plagued the city’s residents.
“When I tell people I work for Orem,” said planner Brandon Stocksdale. “The first thing they say is, ‘Fix that thing on State Street.’”
Orem Mayor Richard Brunst faced the same reaction during his July 2014 campaign. “Every place we would walk and talk, people would say, ‘You know, I’m concerned about property tax increase or concerned about Utopia,’ and in the same breath they’d always say Midtown. So Midtown was always No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3.”
The project was reborn as Brunst brought the city’s project and facilities managers together and found developers with a track record of good work.
The Ritchie Group and Evergreen Properties currently direct Midtown’s development. The original builders, Big-D Construction Corp., will continue on the reconstruction. The financing group is PCCP, LLC, a company that employs many BYU graduates. “This group knows how to do a beautiful project,” Brunst said.
The Midtown development was originally planned to house high-end condos. The mix-use project will now feature apartment-style living and retail space. The south tower’s construction will take place over a six-month-period, followed by other towers that connect the west side to Orem Boulevard.
The partially completed project passed through the hands of several contractors before going “belly-up” during the recession.
David R. Stroud, planner in the Orem Department of Development Services, said many people thought the failure to complete the project was the city’s fault. It was actually an effect of the economic downturn. “(Midtown Village) is one of the casualties right there,” he said.
Eighteen different companies made offers on the Midtown complex with no success. Brunst believes the past failures were due to a lack of capability to handle the large project.
“The key, what made the difference, is to get a quality developer who is qualified to take on a project of that magnitude, because that’s a very difficult project to take on,” Brunst said.
The site plan’s approval from Orem’s city council and planning commission signified a new identity for the State Street landmark, just one of many projects in the works for the city of Orem.
“It’s been an eyesore for the city, and so we’re very excited to see that be completed,” Stocksdale said. “This project ties in well with a larger project that we have going on the city; it’s called the State Street Corridor Master Plan.” The plan includes a year-long study, a partnership with Provo and a vision to keep a downtown feel in Orem while maintaining the city’s identity as an “economically vibrant” center of sales for the county.
“I had the vision that Orem is just kind of a sleepy, quiet town,” Stocksdale said. “But there really is a lot of exciting stuff happening in Orem.”
Brunst agreed, predicting Midtown 360 to be the “jewel of Orem” even after years of struggle and delay. “It’s the right people at the right time,” he said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]