Urban living is changing the face of Provo and surrounding areas

Utah Land

PROVO — From the Shops at Riverwoods to East Bay Business Park, construction, new businesses and city living are taking hold. Mixed-use buildings are shaking up the old retail areas and it looks like there are more apartments than renters. Construction will continue for years to come with just current plans.

While most of that is true, the part about more apartments than renters is not. In fact between Orem, Vineyard, Provo and then other areas of the county both north and south, there is still a great need for housing of all varieties.

“We’re not even close to being done,” said Dixon Holmes, Provo’s Economic Development director. “Provo is prepared and anticipating big things in downtown, including residential.”

For those not keeping track, construction between 500 West and 100 East and from 300 North to 600 South is brisk and constant.

According to Community Development records, there are 187 apartment units under construction, 171 units in the approval process and 1,000 units on the drawing board, which means the city is aware of them, but no plans have been submitted.

“Most of that is in downtown,” Holmes said. “We applaud Orem and University Place, but Provo is also prepared for density in downtown. There are a total of 1,340 units without the student housing.”

Few of these units are earmarked for students; in fact, only one is considered a student housing project and that is Seasons at Provo, 889 E. 700 North.

Non-student projects include Startup Crossing at 185 W. 500 South, near the FrontRunner station offering 101 units.  The 63 East project, well under way on Center Street has 44 units.  Liberty Place at 300 W. Center will have 120 units, while the St. Francis project at 461 W. 200 North will offer 42 units for those 55 years and older.

Holmes said the city is also entertaining proposals on the RC Willey block at 200 North and Freedom Plaza just north of the Utah Valley Convention Center. There are also big plans for the area around the Utah Transit Authority Intermodal Hub at 700 South and 200 West. More than 500 units are expected in that area. Commercial buildings are also in the mix.

Construction on the Historic County Courthouse is helping to shore up deteriorating steps and exterior. And, in case you haven’t been to downtown lately, the Provo City Center Temple outside and inside is under major construction. Construction teams at the temple have wallboard up and have primed and are painting the inside of the building while work still proceeds outside on the gazebo and land surrounding the temple.

Another construction project changing the look of Provo is the major changes happening with the Intermountain Healthcare renovations and build out. City blocks between 200 West and 500 West from the hospital south to 800 North have been cleared to make way for the massive expansion.

The city has also designated the area around Columbia Lane, Deseret Industries and across State Street to the Provo River as a designated Commercial Development Area for potential developers looking at a remake of the area.

Holmes said they have just started discussions on what will happen with the city center block and construction possibilities ahead for it.

Among all the building going on, there are still single-family homes being built, neighborhoods designing master plans and parks being built or renovated to accommodate the growth anticipated and already coming to the area.


Stewart Park, project manager for the @geneva development, believes “if you build it, they will come.” The development will forevermore change the face of Vineyard, a small town that once relied on Geneva Steel and its property tax to care for its city coffers.

The master-planned community project under the direction of Anderson Development indicates that as many as 26,000 residents will be moving in within the next five to ten years. In fact, they’ve already started.

“This is no small project,” Park said in a November interview. “It reaches from 1700 North to 250 South just west of Geneva Road.”

Park noted Utah is bucking a national trend in housing.

“We’re the envy of the country,” he said. “There will be great demand for housing in the next five years. Every study with everything planned in this area shows occupancy rates will still drop. That means we can’t build fast enough.”

It’s not just housing, either; businesses are coming too. In just one month, the latest of Larry Miller’s Megaplexes will be opening at the development and will house 11 theaters including an IMAX theater. Grocery stores, Utah Valley University and other retail and offices have invested in property at the development.


The University Place project, formerly University Mall and owned by the Woodbury Corporation, includes 400,000 square feet of new retail space, 700,000 square feet of new office space, 1.25 million square feet of new multi-family residential space and 70,000 square feet of new hotel space.

Partnering with Woodbury is Ivory Homes, which will develop an upscale apartment complex, condos and other housing facilities in the area. The University Place project is expected to cover at least a seven-year time period and will be developed as demand arises. The apartment complex already under construction will offer approximately 420 one, two and three bedroom apartments.

Another housing rebirth is just up the street at 360 South State at the former Midtown Village.

Now known as Midtown 360, the complete project will feature apartments with one, two and three bedrooms, businesses and resident amenities.

“Our goal is to make sure what was started is finished, and that this site becomes one of the premier residential and commercial spots to live and do business,” said Ryan Ritchie, founder of The Ritchie Group at the ground breaking in October. “The term 360 connotes a complete turnaround, which symbolizes the transformation about to take place at Midtown 360.”

When complete, the project will feature 550 residential units, 60,000 square feet of Class A retail space, and amenities including a community library, fitness center, indoor basketball court, rooftop lounge and central atrium in both towers.

Apartments are also going up just south of Midtown on State Street, around the corner on Orem Boulevard and Center Street, in several north Orem areas and just south of Wendy’s around 1400 South State. Other projects include eating establishments, a hotel and apartments by the 800 North /I-15 interchange.


Written by: Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire