Orem approves game-changing mixed use development

DSCN5388Orem approved a bold new mixed-use development last night that will attempt to turn a dying mall into a vibrant neighborhood.

The plan was approved in a 6-1 vote during a long meeting. Dishearteningly, but not surprisingly I guess, a bunch of residents lined up to complain about the project.

I realize people choose their neighborhoods because they like them the way they are. And these residents, who apparently just wanted to “slow down” the development, surely see a lot of good in the place where they’ve chosen to live.

But this neighborhood needs to change. Though it’s fairly central, it’s completely unwalkable and surrounded on most sides by horrible stroads.

Screen shot 2013-12-11 at 11.50.21 PM

Almost anything would be an improvement over this, but Orem is particularly lucky to have one of the best firms in the world on board to turn this space a real neighborhood.

If these residents want any future for the area, they’re going to have to embrace progress. The development, which is designed by Andres Duany’s firm, also will surely increase property values, as well as health, efficiency and economic vitality. But I guess nothing can happen without a showing from NIMBYs.

In any case, this is a fairly exciting experiment. University Mall is struggling, to put it lightly, so if this works it could offer a model for other malls, in Utah and beyond.

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