WEST VALLEY CITY — Fairbourne Station is returning to West Valley City.
City officials Thursday broke ground and unveiled the name for the $500 million, transit-oriented development project designed to become the future focal point of West Valley City.
"This will be a true mixed-use center and the premier transit-oriented development in the West," Mayor Mike Winder said.
The 40-acre development's name, Winder explained, pays homage to Joseph Fairbourne, an early settler in the area who in 1883 built a blacksmith shop and small store at 3535 S. 3200 West.
Fellow settlers in outlying areas would stop at Fairbourne's shop to weigh their produce on their way to market their goods in Salt Lake City or Murray, the mayor said.
The Fairbourne weigh station became "a gathering place in the regional transportation network, a crossroads for people of diverse nationalities who convened there to market, worship together and build the community that we would become today," Winder said.
And city leaders envision the new Fairbourne Station doing the same.
"The beauty and vibrancy of Fairbourne Station will be a game changer for how people view West Valley City in the future," Winder said.
The development also will bring to West Valley City its first full-service, four-star hotel. Construction of a seven-story Hilton Embassy Suites — featuring 162 suites — is scheduled to begin in July, with completion expected in late 2012.
The $27 million hotel will be owned by the city and leased to Embassy Suites. Lease payments will cover the debt service, said Nicole Cottle, the city's community and economic development director.
The project also calls for roughly 1,000 residential units, all of which will be high-end urban housing, along with 200,000 square feet of retail and 200,000 square feet of office space.
A 4-acre linear park — a "grand promenade" — and plaza with water features "will act as our focal point and a gathering place for our increasingly diverse community," Cottle said.
The terminus of the West Valley City TRAX line and the Utah Transit Authority's first bus-rapid transit route will create an intermodal center at Fairbourne Station. City Hall, a court building, a public safety building and a county library will be the civic anchors of the development, she said.
In all, the project is projected to create 2,000 new jobs, several millions of dollars in sales- and property-tax revenues, and increased ridership on transit.
"West Valley City is indeed undergoing a renaissance," Cottle said, "and Fairbourne Station is the flagship of all our economic development projects."
Gov. Gary Herbert, one of the local dignitaries who attended Thursday's groundbreaking, said he believes Fairbourne Station will have "a significant impact on economic growth in this part of our great state."
"The vibrancy of our state, in large part, is because of the vibrancy of our cities," Herbert said. "West Valley is certainly an example of vibrancy and growth."
Utah Reps. Jim Matheson and Jason Chaffetz also were in attendance.
The project is being developed by the Redevelopment Agency of West Valley City, with a handful of private partners — including Hines, an international office development and leasing firm; and ICO, a subsidiary of Ivory Homes.
It's estimated that the project will include $500 million in private investment when it's complete, Cottle said.