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West Valley City • It's back to the future with the naming of a half-billion-dollar project designed to create a downtown and drive economic development in Utah's second largest city.

City leaders chose Fairbourne Station as the name, harking back to Joseph Fairbourne's 19th-century weigh station, where westside settlers stopped to measure their produce on the way to market.

"Salt Lake City has their City Creek, South Jordan has their Daybreak, San Francisco has their Fisherman's Wharf, and San Diego has their Gaslamp Quarter," Mayor Mike Winder said Thursday at a groundbreaking ceremony. "It was important to us that we have a name that is unique for West Valley City, one that honors our city's past while envisioning its future as a gathering place."

Other elected officials speaking at the event were Gov. Gary Herbert and U.S. Reps. Jim Matheson and Jason Chaffetz. The three praised the years of effort that have gone into the project.

"This is truly, truly going to change the face of West Valley City," Chaffetz said.

West Valley City — which was incorporated in 1980 and now has a population of approximately 130,000 — grew up as a suburban and farming community and never had an area considered to be a downtown.

Fairbourne Station, which previously was referred to as City Center, is expected to be built out in the next seven to 10 years with an estimated $500 million of private investment. The development covers 40 acres south of 3500 South between 2700 West and 3200 West and is expected to create about 2,000 jobs.

Plans call for residential, retail, hotel, office and green space next to a transportation hub. The four-block area will continue to be a civic center anchored by City Hall, police headquarters, a courthouse and a library branch in the development.

A wide pedestrian promenade will connect a plaza and City Hall to a TRAX station that is scheduled to open this summer near 3500 South and 2700 West. The plaza will hold a "forest" of 30 sculptures.

An important element will be a four-star, eight-story Embassy Suites, which is scheduled to break ground in July at 3500 South and Market Street (2842 West) and open next year.

Under a creative financing deal, the West Valley City Redevelopment Agency will borrow about $30 million from a private lender and will own the hotel. West Valley Lodging Initiatives (WVLI), a private company based in Las Vegas and a Hilton franchisee, will build the hotel and operate it, make monthly lease payments to the development agency until the loan is repaid, then take ownership of the building.

Although not officially part of Fairbourne Station, Valley Fair Mall also is helping draw the interest of developers to the area. The shopping center, across the street from City Hall, has expanded from about 600,000 square feet to its current size of more than 800,000 square feet of retail space since the beginning of 2010.

In 1883, Fairbourne built a blacksmith shop and small store at 3535 S. 3200 West, the block that holds the new development. Fairbourne's corner became a gathering place and a regional transportation hub.

Fairbourne Station

When completed, West Valley City's project is projected to include:

200,000 square feet • Retail space.

200,000 square feet • Office space.

1,000 • Urban residences.

162 • Upscale hotel suites.

2,200 • Parking spaces.

Four acres • Urban park and plaza space.

Source: West Valley City Public Relations.