Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Company to turn Orem mall into a community

My former colleague Genelle Pugmire wrote yesterday in the Daily Herald that University Mall in Orem is going to be reengineered as a new, mixed use community. That’s easy to say, but in this case they’re really putting their money where their mouth is:

The Woodbury family has reached out to the world premier designers and founders of the “new urbanism,” Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Company.

That’s really quite incredible; as I mentioned to Genelle in a message last night, the significance of that decision really can’t be understated.

Parts of this mall in Orem are slated to become a New Urbanist community.

Parts of this mall in Orem are slated to become a New Urbanist community.

I previously wrote about Duany on this blog here, and he was a major source in my Tribune story on the Mormon grid. If you’re reading this blog you may know who these people are, but let me just say that with them on board there’s a good chance this won’t become just another pseudo-city sprawl development. (I know New Urbanism isn’t without its critics and I’m skeptical myself about some tenants, but still, this isn’t some sad knock off like Daybreak.)

Anyway, Genelle’s article mentions that the project will likely begin next year with construction on a park. Office and residential construction will follow.

There’s a lot that has to happen before this project takes shape and there could still be some bumps in the road — remember the Frank Gehry building that was coming to Lehi at one point? — but overall this is very good news for Utah. As I also mentioned to Genelle in a message, the only disappointing thing is that if this succeeds Orem may finally eclipse downtown Provo as the physical and architectural heart of Utah Valley.

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