WASHINGTON CITY — The recent unanimous approval by the Washington City Council has cleared the way for a development agreement for Freeport West’s ARA Southwest Logistics Center.

An aerial image of the ARA Southwest Logistics center to be built in Washington City, Utah | Photo courtesy Washington City, St. George News

Washington City Public Affairs Officer Jordan Hess said the new transportation hub will provide nearly 5 million square feet of industrial warehouse and distribution space, allowing local businesses to expand, attracting new commerce and bringing more jobs.

The development agreement solidified plans for infrastructure, including large investments from Dixie Power, the City of Washington, Freeport West and others to develop 277 acres of ground near the St. George Regional Airport.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with this project that will be a game-changer for Washington City and the entire region,” Washington City Mayor Kress Staheli said in a press release. “I am proud of the city’s partnership with Freeport West and we look forward to seeing this project come to fruition.”

With the endorsement of the Utah Taxpayers Association, the taxing agencies of Washington County, most notably the Washington County School District, approved tax increment financing to assist with infrastructure costs, Hess said.

A new exit is under construction that will connect Washington City to state Route 7 can be seen near Washington City, Utah, Dec. 19, 2023 | Photo by Haven Scott, St. George News

“The project requires site stabilization, road construction, sewer, water, telecom, gas and electrical,” the media release stated. “The pioneering of these improvements will also pave the way for future development in the area. Freeport will begin moving dirt as soon as this coming January.”

Freeport West CEO Brad Ross was in attendance at the city council meeting on Dec. 6 saying he was excited to announce the addition.

“We are extremely excited to begin our first development in Southern Utah,” he said. “Freeport West has always led out in identifying new and emerging markets and we see Washington City as a smart investment.”

The ARA Southwest Logistics Center will provide manufacturers and distributors close proximity to St George Regional Airport, Interstate 15 and state Route 7, more commonly known as Southern Parkway.

Washington City Economic Development Director Rusty Hughes told St. George News the project is expected to “be a 15-year build out” and will increase overall inventory space in Washington County by more than 35%.

A new road that will connect Washington City to state Route 7 can be seen near Washington City, Utah, Dec. 19, 2023 | Photo by Haven Scott, St. George News

“The investment will help local businesses by providing much needed space for expansion while putting downward pressure on existing lease rates,” she said. “This product also lowers some of the barriers of entry for out-of-market businesses looking to take advantage of Southern Utah’s location in proximity to major population centers throughout the western United States.”

The ARA Southwest Logistics Center will be the largest single industrial project in Washington County’s history. Development of the land could increase the property value and tax revenues that flow back to the Washington County School District by more than 2,000%.

“Because this area is planned for industrial and business development, this means that the increase in revenues to local schools comes without adding to the school district’s cost,” Hughes said. “This development doesn’t just benefit one city, it benefits the entire region by putting Washington County on the map as more than a great place to vacation. And Washington City is a great place to invest and build a business.”

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