Utah is primed for growth and Layton City is doing all it can to strategically maximize the development opportunities that have presented themselves in the state. Located at the base of the Wasatch mountain range, property values continue to rise, retail sales continue to increase, and the population continues to grow in the city.
Growth is being driven by Layton City’s optimal connectivity with its natural surroundings, logistical connectivity to extensive transportation infrastructure, proximate location to Salt Lake International Airport and local and regional public transit systems, digital connectivity with UTOPIA fiber high-speed Internet capacity, and a strong development strategy.
“Layton City is a great place to live, providing an extraordinary quality of life while offering more affordable options than nearby Salt Lake City,” said Lon Crowell, Deputy Director Community and Economic Development with Layton City. As land prices in and around Salt Lake City continue to rise and development continues to move outward, Layton is well positioned to welcome the overflow.
What makes Layton City attractive to prospective residents and business alike is the effort the city has taken to develop in harmony with its natural environment. With the bounty of nature nestled between the Wasatch Mountain range and the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve and close proximity with access to a multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities, Layton City offers the best of both worlds: city living and the serenity and adventure of the great outdoors.
The way of life in Layton City is attractive to the young, well-educated and diverse workforce that calls the city home. Outdoor adventure lovers are drawn to nearby Snow Basin Ski Resort and activities like hiking, biking and camping in the surrounding foothills. Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island also serve as great family friendly locales.
“Layton is a well-planned, well-managed and well-guided community. Growth has taken place over decades by design, with good planning and careful thought,” said Crowell who credited “good leadership, hard work, and good relationships,” with providing the foundation for growth.
Economic growth in Layton City has necessitated occupational growth as well as an increased demand for housing options including single-family housing units, townhomes and apartments. The city offers diverse housing options to suit a wide variety of families and income brackets and most importantly, has room to grow.
Due to rising housing costs along the Wasatch Front, there is a growing demand for more compact and affordable housing stock on the remaining vacant land. Some areas of Layton continue to be resistant to these housing types. Crowell explained that, “Housing pressure along the Wasatch Front is projected to double over the next thirty years with a current shortage estimated at 40,000 to 50,000 units. It will be difficult to preserve existing farmlands, open lands and undeveloped or underutilized property with the existing and projected housing demand.”
As the city faces pressure to build vertically, good land use planning will be paramount to ensure Layton City maintains the unique quality of life it is regarded for, while taking efforts to preserve the natural environment. The city is also prepared to partner with residents, investors and developers who have an interest in improving historical buildings and structures, or recovering distressed areas. Federal Opportunity Zones and city incentives are available to spur investment in designated zones.
Goods and people can quickly reach markets across the region via Interstate 15, Highway 89 to Interstate 84, and State Route 193, which offers access to Hill Air Force Base south gate and connects to Interstate 15 to Highway 89. The city also has access to commercial and commuter rail.
“Layton City has developed a good relationship and partnership with UDOT [Utah Department of Transportation] and UTA [Utah Transit Authority] over many years. This working partnership has been key to several successful projects leading to Layton’s growth,” said Crowell.
Some of the projects he referred to are the reconstruction of the Hill Field Road and Interstate 15 Interchange, Layton Parkway and Interstate 15 Interchange, Mid-Town Crossing Interstate 15 overpass, Frontrunner Layton Station, UTA Ski Bus, and the free Mid-Town Trolley. These partnerships will continue as the city looks to move forward on the expansion of Highway 89, Interstate 15, South Main Street, as well as 2200 West and the Antelope Drive and Interstate 15 interchange, in addition to the construction of the West Davis Highway.
“Our vision for South Main Street is significant and we see this space adjacent to the Frontrunner Layton Station coming to life as a high-density, active, mixed-use office and residential development, with some retail opportunities on the ground floor along Main Street,” Crowell explained. The city is also in discussions with UDOT to improve the function of the existing cross-section design of South Main Street into a more pedestrian-friendly, typical main street.
Residents and businesses enjoy the connectivity offered by UTOPIA Fiber, a local fiber Internet provider provided by a select few communities along the Wasatch Front. UTOPIA offers residential services up to one gigabit per second dedicated fiber and 100 gigabits per second dedicated fiber for businesses.
Over $1 billion in new construction has occurred in Layton City over the past decade, with over $750 million of that occurring over the past five years. Much of that investment and growth has taken place in the aerospace and advanced materials sectors to support Hill Air Force Base.
As “a pillar of the community since 1940,” Hill Air Force Base is Utah’s largest employer with 25,500 employees. With a payroll of $1.38 billion and an estimated annual economic impact of over $3.4 billion, in addition to the $1.35 billion in estimated indirect jobs created throughout the state, its impact is remarkable.
As Crowell noted, “It only makes sense that we focus on the industries that support the growth and operations of Hill Air Force Base and the F-35 Fighter. The technology and skill needed to maintain and fly this aircraft is highly advanced. The local education and training evolving to support this demand will create a workforce pipeline that will succeed in a variety of industries.”
Layton City was selected as the sponsoring city for the Hill Air Force Base Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) which is a long-range planning effort conducted in partnership with other stakeholders including the surrounding 11 cities and two counties, to promote the continued operation and growth of the base. The study will consider the role of the East Gate Business Park.
East Gate Business Park is located outside the east gate of Hill Air Force Base and serves as a prime location for aerospace, defense, and composite research and manufacturing. The site provides nearby access to Interstate 15, Interstate 80, Interstate 84 and Highway 89, and it also benefits from the proximity to Salt Lake International Airport and rail access at the Freeport Center.
Janicki Industries and KIHOMAC were initial tenants in the space that boasts more than 500 acres of additional land. The business park is primed to accept over one million square feet of new industrial development and as a designated Economic Development Area, tax increment rebates may be available as Layton partners for future growth.
WesTest Engineering Corporation recently secured 2.3 acres, and construction of a 28,700-square-foot, two-story office building is underway. The facility will support their operations, which provides turnkey test solutions for military and aerospace sectors.
The addition of companies like WesTest highlights the skills gap that is impacting the entire country, and Layton City has not been immune. With a great school system and a well-educated population, the city is poised to address any workforce demands.
“There are many pursuits and training models underway to fill this gap, from internships, apprenticeships and grade school opportunities, to technical schools and traditional universities offering online courses and shortened timelines for completion,” explained Crowell. With educational partners like the Davis School District, Utah State University, University of Utah and Weber State University, and access to a regional population of approximately 1.75 million and a workforce pool of approximately 850,000, workforce challenges will be overcome.
Healthcare is another area of growth. Layton is home to several prominent healthcare resources such as Davis Hospital and Medical Center, the new Intermountain Layton Hospital, and the Intermountain Healthcare Clinic and Tanner Clinics. The $100 million Intermountain Layton Hospital was a significant investment in the city’s South Main Street area and will provide services that were previously unavailable.
Further to serving as a healthcare hub, Layton City is also a retail center. It is home to the highest annual retail sales in Davis County and the second highest in Northern Utah with $1.55 billion. For residents’ retail needs, a mile-long stretch fondly dubbed ‘Restaurant Row’, offers a variety of restaurants and immediate access to Layton Hills Mall. Residents are also excited about the new RC Willey which just broke ground, which will be the largest furniture store they have constructed and will open early 2020.
For arts and culture and family-friendly programming, residents can venture to City Hall. A community feature that cannot be missed is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a replica of the national monument. The memorial wall was driven by an Ogden, Utah resident and Vietnam combat veteran and President of the Northern Utah chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, Dennis Howland.
At eighty percent of the size of the original, the 360-foot long memorial sits on the northeast corner of Layton Commons Park and features the names of all the Americans who were lost in battle in Vietnam. Layton City donated land and infrastructure, and assisted with construction.
There is certainly a lot taking place in Layton City on an economic and community level and it shows no signs of slowing down. Be it for business, residential or recreational purposes, there are countless reasons that people are drawn to this community.
Looking ahead, as Layton City always does, the focus will remain on transportation, housing and employment, ensuring that it remains optimally connected to enhance the livability, sustainability and quality of life for residents and businesses in harmony with the natural environment.