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Riverton • One of the LDS Church's real estate companies is moving to develop a 540-acre swath of church-owned farmland on Riverton's west side into residential and mixed-use neighborhoods.
The church's Suburban Land Reserve (SLR) has requested city approval of a master plan for a residential and commercial project on several large open parcels between Bangerter Highway and Mountain View Corridor near 13400 South.
Riverton City Planner Jason Lethbridge said key elements of the land-use agreement with its potential for adding up to 3,500 housing units could go before elected leaders for approval in early January.
"This longtime farm has served as an asset to our community," Mayor Bill Applegarth said. "The vision for its use is to continue to be an asset and enrich the quality of life experienced by residents of Riverton and surrounding areas."
Review of the master plan coincides with the city's recent green light for construction nearby of an 85-acre open-air, mixed-use shopping center to be called Mountain View Place at Riverton, on the northeast corner of 13400 South and the Mountain View Corridor (about 4800 West.)
Applegarth said the mall "will be the centerpiece of a new level of commercial and residential development in Riverton City and the region."
"We've been preparing for this kind of quality development for many years," he said, "and it's gratifying to be part of this regionally significant project."
Approved this week, the shopping complex on Riverton's border with Herriman will bring a mix of stores, restaurants, offices and villagelike public spaces, akin to California retail developer CenterCal's only other Utah project, Station Park in Farmington.
CenterCal expects work to begin early next year and is buying the land from SLR, which brokered the mall deal along with Property Reserve Inc. (PRI), another subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We feel honored to have been selected as the buyer of the property," CenterCal CEO Fred Bruning said via email. "The SLR team took the time to visit several of our projects, and I believe the quality and attention to detail they saw convinced them that we would be the best choice."
Bruning said the accord reflected "the care and stewardship for the land that is the hallmark of both SLR's and PRI's approach to their properties."
In a brief statement, an SLR spokesman offered no details about how or when development of single-family and multifamily homes around the shopping center would occur. Dale Bills would say only that the CenterCal project was the first phase of a wider mixed-use master plan "to help build a vibrant future for the city."
"The plan," Bills said in a statement, "is responsive to community priorities and balances retail, civic, religious, office and residential uses."
He also did not address what SLR's role would be in development work.
Though zoned for commercial uses in 2009, the acreage long has been known to locals as Hamilton Farms.
Lethbridge said the SLR proposal divides the 540 acres into smaller parts, suggesting development would occur in phases, possibly under the direction of a variety of developers. The plan envisions a range of housing types and densities, he said, from single-family homes with yards to clusters of apartments along Bangerter Highway and other key arterials.
Because much of the land is open now, without concerns from adjacent property owners, Lethbridge said, "there will be some density types, some architectural styles and development types we wouldn't see elsewhere in the city."
The area someday could have light-rail access, according to a 2010 study of east-west transit routes in that area.
SLR's plan includes a series of interconnected open spaces throughout the new neighborhoods, linked by pedestrian and bike paths. But in light of recent city investments in new and existing parks elsewhere in Riverton, Lethbridge said, "we will not see a large regional park in this area."
The formula for paying for new roads, sewer, water and other city services in the added neighborhoods is complex, involving upfront costs to developers, impact fees and other funding sources.
Riverton's input on the master plan, said Lethbridge, has focused on ensuring basic development standards and setting up a process for reviewing work as it proceeds.
SLR's master plan is slated for initial review by Riverton's Planning Commission on Thursday.