Vacant commercial spaces have been filling up quickly around Farmington in recent months.
The construction of a new dental clinic downtown is the most obvious sign of progress, but there are other additions around town as well. Pizza Hut opened a delivery and carry-out location last weekend in a space along Pilot Knob Road formerly occupied by a coffee shop, and a catering business is in the process of moving into a vacant property that was long home to a gas station and convenience store.
Those additions come on the heels of AK Performance Graphics' move into a former parks and recreation garage and the addition of a construction company in the former home of a city-run liquor store.
Bernard's Glass, a company specializing in glass shower doors, mirrors, windows and door screens, recently moved to downtown Farmington from Apple Valley.
That kind of development, coming after a period when commercial growth was hard to find, is good news to Tina Hansmeier, the city's economic development specialist.
Hansmeier said city workers stayed busy when growth was slow. There were things happening behind the scenes, but there was little that was visible to residents. She's happy now to see tangible evidence of growth.
"It's a good thing for the city see, a good thing for residents and the community," Hansmeier said. "It's a good thing for the businesses that are here."
There are other projects in the works, too. Kwik Trip has received a conditional use permit to expand its downtown Farmington location, and Trinity Care Center is getting ready to start construction on an addition that will house a memory care unit. If that space fills up quickly another addition could follow.
Rising Stars Daycare, located near downtown in the Farmington Marketplace shopping area, is also looking to expand.
Hansmeier said it's not clear yet whether the recent additions are signs of a changing business climate.
"That's the million dollar question," she said. "It's hard to say. I'm hearing from a couple different broker contacts that things are changing. There seems to be some interest in the market.
"It's certainly less vacancies, particularly in downtown, than there were six months ago. Even the other retail commercial areas seem to be filling up."
The construction of a new home for Immanuel Dental on a long-vacant downtown lot, the sale of the former parks and recreation garage and the sale of the former liquor store take care of three properties the city has long wanted to get off of its hands. Now, there is just one more the city would like to sell: The former Rambling River Center property at the corner of Third and Spruce streets.
"It's certainly going to take a unique user," Hansmeier said. "It's a 6,000 square foot building."
This Little Piggy Catering
Farmington's new catering business still needs some work. The business will take over a space along Highway 3 occupied most recently by a BP gas station and convenience store.
The catering company's owners were formerly based in Jordan, but Hansmeier said they are Farmington residents and were looking to move closer to home.
For more on the business visit pigroast.net.
Pizza Hut opened Saturday in a spot near the corner of PIlot Knob Road and 195th Street. The delivery and carry-out location includes Pizza Hut offerings as well as the company's Wing Street options.