CENTERVILLE – The shopping center on Pages Lane may soon see signs of life, but it won’t be from the old Dick’s Market building.
The area, which stretches between Main Street and 400 East, includes several abandoned buildings that once held businesses such as Dick’s Market and the old Rodgers Memorial Theatre. Though the long-closed Chevron gas station and convenience store is now on the road to re-opening, many of the larger buildings remain quiet.
Though city staff say they would consider redevelopment efforts to help sweeten interest in the area, differing opinions between the involved property owners make that unlikely.
“There’s not a consensus among them as to what to do,” said Centerville City Manager Steve Thacker. “There has to be a real synergy between all the involved parties before we even start down that road.”
Thacker said there haven’t been any serious offers on the former Dick’s building, which was vacated last summer. Given the development process, property owners and potential lessees need to submit paperwork early for approved use and any necessary remodels.
“If there were, they would be talking to us right away,” said Thacker.
PPC Commercial Real Estate Brokerage lists the properties as a single chunk from 266 E. to 400 E. (the old Dick’s Market is at 350 East). Tony Richardson, who represents the property, could not be reached for comment.
“They really think of the buildings as a set,” said Centerville Community Development Director Cory Snyder.
One positive developmental note is the Chevron gas station, located on the corner of Main Street and Pages Lane. A lawsuit left the building cut in half between two feuding property owners, and it has been closed for the last several years as the owners attempted to agree on a property use.
Finally, they’ve come to a decision. At last week’s board of adjustment, the owners got approval to move ahead with a site plan that would re-open the property as a gas station and convenience store. Though current zoning doesn’t allow for anything but mixed use, the recent approval allows the property’s original use to be grandfathered in.
“They would also like it to include a fast food element,” said Michael Deamer, a lawyer representing the owners. “The only thing that will change is they plan to tear down the old car wash building.”
The emptiness of the shopping center concerns the developers behind Village on Main, which is located on just the other side of Main Street. They arranged a meeting with business owners and Thacker several months ago to encourage growth in the area. Though that meeting jump-started the process that led to the gas station being re-developed, there was little movement with the larger properties.
Even Bountiful City is interested in seeing the shopping center revitalized.
“In the last 10 years, Bountiful City has made a concerted effort to revitalize the old J.C. Penney’s property,” said Bountiful Community Development Director Aric Jensen, talking about the Village on Main property. “Also, the borders between cities in south Davis have become so blurred that many people believe the old Dick’s building is in Bountiful, even though it’s technically in Centerville. As such, the vacant properties negatively impact Bountiful’s image as much and possibly more than Centerville’s.”
So far, however, property owners see no reason to change their current course of action.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is happy with what they’re doing,” said Snyder. The church owns the properties that include Deseret Industries and other church-related services.
Snyder said that they’re considering buying the bank building and tearing it down to expand their parking lot. They have no plans to move. Ace Hardware, which was originally connected to Dick’s Market, also has no plans to move.
Until the property owners can agree on an overall plan for the area, Centerville’s Redevelopment Agency can’t get involved. The shopping center isn’t part of a current redevelopment area, and the city would have to get approval from the owners to begin the process.
“It’s a potential tool we could use,” said Thacker. “But there are no plans for it at the moment.”