Food court and fitness center coming to Rexburg

Construction worker Tom Jessup measures a cross beam Tuesday at The Point in Rexburg. The retail building is part of the NorthPoint apartment complex. Construction began two years ago and is expected to be completed in August. The building is slated to open in October. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

REXBURG —A late-night snack or meal-on-the-fly soon will be as simple as a click of a button for students at a new apartment complex and retail development near Brigham Young University-Idaho.

At five-stories, the NorthPoint Apartments at the corner of 141 South First West are among the tallest in Rexburg. The partially opened complex includes a men’s and women’s building with 1,024 beds split between them, a nearly 500-stall parking garage and a 32,000-square-foot commercial development for recreation, business and food.

“Our slogan is, life connected. The idea is that if you move to NorthPoint, we want to be able to offer you everything you need,” developer Cory Sorensen said. “You’ll be a member of a full fitness club with lockers and showers, students will work at the facility and you can order food and have it delivered to your room … it’s a life-connected atmosphere.”

A digital wall-mounted computer tablet — called a Home Automation Center — is part of each apartment. It includes an option for tenants to digitally order food for either delivery to their doors or pick up on their way to class. It also allows students to reserve lounges for events and in-house study areas.

The new retail building tentatively is called “The Point.” The roof is being installed this week. Developers hope to open the building by Oct. 31. The apartment buildings will go into full use in August.

“With our location, our customer base is going to be geared toward our tenants and other students,” Sorensen said. “But we want this facility to be open to anyone … it’ll be a great place to bring your kids and I imagine our price point (at the food court) is going to be fairly inexpensive compared to sit-down restaurants.”

When finished, The Point will include a club house, outdoor fire pits, two smaller, reservation-only movie theaters, a full-service fitness center with staff and two LDS ward activity areas for Mormon student congregations to hold activities. There also will be an upstairs food court, with space for three or four restaurants.

Developers are negotiating with several restaurants, but nothing has been confirmed.

Jim Dalton, a representative of The Riverbend Group, a major stakeholder in NorthPoint, said it’s targeting “national vendors, whose name brands brings immediate recognition and credibility.”

The Point is the second major commercial building to open near BYU-Idaho in recent years.

In 2010, Hemming Village, a $25 million commercial development was built along Second South, a block from NorthPoint. That development features restaurants, stores and an upstairs events gallery.

“The students and the growth of BYU-Idaho are a huge part of our economic engine and we appreciate Hemming Village and NorthPoint’s proximity to the university,” said Donna Benfield, executive director of the Rexburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “This helps with city infrastructure by having less cars on the road and locating high-density apartments within walking distance of campus, preventing the sprawl of apartments across the city.”

City planning and zoning documents show NorthPoint is surrounded by 57 parking stalls on the outside, in addition to the stalls inside the five-story parking structure. The hope is the parking garage will reduce the number of vehicles parked on campus-adjacent roads. The bottom floor of the garage is designated for retail customers.

The building’s proximity to campus also is a boon to BYU-Idaho, which encourages its students not to drive to class.

“BYU-Idaho is committed to creating a walkable, pedestrian-oriented campus,” university spokesman Marc Stevens said. “The development of well-planned student housing projects adjacent to the university is critical to realizing that goal. … Commercial offerings within (these) developments are certainly beneficial, provided they appropriately meet student needs as well as the needs of the community.”

The Point also provides students easier access to local businesses, which keeps money in the community, Benfield said.

“Anything we can do to keep students spending money in town, rather than going south is good,” Benfield said. “A lot of kids go to Idaho Falls for stuff they want, but NorthPoint is trying to provide food that isn’t available here and that’s a positive thing for our merchants.”

Reporter Nate Sunderland can be reached at 542-6763.

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