Harmons Store Proposed For Outlet Mall Coming To Snyderville Planning Commission

The owners of the outlet mall near Kimball Junction are proposing to open a Harmons

The owners of the outlet mall near Kimball Junction are proposing to open a Harmons grocery store there, saying it will revitalize the commercial center.

The plan, which would demolish and reconstruct a portion of the mall, will be introduced to the Snyderville Planning Commission at its regular session (today) Tuesday afternoon.   

The Snyderville Commission is meeting electronically.   The proposal for the mall, Outlets Park City, is the first item on the Planning Commission’s work session, which starts at 4:30.

The planning staff reports that the applicant, the firm SRE Ontario, wants to demolish the 54,000-square-foot Building C.  In the mall’s roughly-U-shaped configuration of stores, the building is at the top, or south, end.

The applicants say their proposal is a redevelopment.   But the planning staff says it’s a new entitlement, since the Harmons store will be larger, at 76,000 square feet.

In a submittal to the county, the applicant’s attorney, Justin Keys said the mall needs a retail food center because “The former playbook for retail is simply not working.”

The outlet mall was built in 1991, and the county approved expansions to the center in 1999 and 2014.

Keys said the retail market has shifted rapidly to online shopping—a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that Outlets Park City, made up almost entirely of soft-goods fashion tenants, has become outdated.   The attorney noted that in the last two years, over 75,000 square feet of retailers have vacated the mall; occupancy has decreased from 95 to below 80 percent; and sales decreased over 32 percent from 2019 to 2020.

He argued that Harmons will be a much-needed anchor tenant.   Keys said the store has a large regional following, and will bring out those customers and their dollars.

The county staff reported that on Tuesday, the Snyderville commissioners are being asked to discuss whether the project must comply with Policy 2.3 of the General Plan, which says that the county won’t add new entitlements unless the applicant can show a compelling public benefit.

The applicants contend they are redeveloping entitlements that have existed since the early 90s.  They said the two previous expansions of the mall advanced the public interest, and said the new plan will improve open space, mass transit and the trail access system at the mall.

Later on in the planning commission’s work session, it’s being asked to discuss Policy 2.3, and whether the existing language should be retained, or changed.