ST. GEORGE — Known as the Kmart shopping center, or the Albertson’s shopping center a few years before that, the longstanding commercial center that sits wedged between south Bluff Street and Main Street is slated to be redeveloped with new businesses inbound for late 2024.
Large white signs can be seen on Main Street and Bluff Street advertising “St. George Place” with a rendering of what the revamped development may look like.
Developers are looking to return the shopping center to its glory days and bring in new tenants, some of which are said to already be committed, to downtown St. George.
“They’re excited and really want to do whatever they need to do to get this going,” city of St. George staff member Carol Davidson told the City Council earlier this month as the developer of St. George Place project sought a renewal of a conditional use permit they had allowed to expire.
Bart Suppes, who represented the developer Bluff Springs, LLC., said they decided to let the original permit expire because they wanted to improve the site’s overall parking layout and improve “how it flowed off of Bluff.” The developer also wanted to firm up commitments from pending tenants for the project and felt they needed another year to do that, he said.
Plans for the redevelopment of the Kmart shopping center include updating building elevations, new landscaping and parking lot layout and the construction of three new commercial pads along Bluff Street meant for restaurants.
More specific measures include the demolition of the freestanding buildings near Bluff Street that currently house the Outdoor Living and Patio Furniture stores. The closest commercial units on either side of the entry from Main Street will also be demolished to widen that access point into the shopping center.
Landscaping, with the exception of preexisting trees and shrubs, will also be replaced with more water-wise xeriscaping. This eliminate the glassy area along Bluff Street and along the wall on Main Street.
Walkways will be established in part of the parking lot in order to providing safer pedestrian access off of Bluff Street and will be added as a part of the parking lot’s rework. Charging stations for electric vehicles will also be added to the parking lot.
The wall along Main Street will also be torn down and rebuilt into something more aesthetically pleasing, Suppes said.
As for what businesses are slated to move into the redeveloped shopping center, Suppes was unable to release their names at the time, though he told the City Council that he should be able to let them know around mid-October.
Current tenants of the shopping center include the Salt Lake Express shuttle service, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, Boomers Discount Markets, Sewing and Quilting Center of Southern Utah, The Salvation Army and longtime tenants PC Innovations and Christensen’s.
“This is big for St. George,” Councilman Gregg McArthur said. “We’re excited. This is a huge thing for us.”
The City Council unanimously approved the request for the renewed permit during its Sept. 1 meeting.
The shopping center has been operating since the ’80s, with the Albertson’s grocery store and Kmart considered its anchor for many years. Along the way Joann Fabric and Crafts had a store there as well.
However, this changed when the Joann store moved to Washington City in 2012. This was followed by the closing of the Bluff Street Albertson’s location in 2013. Kmart continued operation and became the last store of its kind in Utah until it closed in 2019.
When Albertson’s was still open there, it was common for student from the Dixie Middle and High schools to walk over for lunch.
The commercial center is also credited with helping grow businesses on the south end of the city near the Bluff Street exit onto Interstate 15.
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