Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

Sour taste in Sugarhouse

By Curmudgeon

Story in Saturday's Salt Lake Tribune, headlined "Sour Taste in Sugarhouse" reveals all is not well with the vast Sugarhouse redevelopment project that drove out many local businesses from a historic building block. The subhead:

"Demolition project appears to stall, leaving a big mess"

From the story by Derek P. Jensen:

Imagine a bombed-out brick building from "Black Hawk Down," but with pink interior walls courtesy of Blue Boutique. [...].
[Sugar House developer Craig Mecham] concedes the foundering economy has him "nervous," hinting his plans to make over the eclectic strip could be on hold.
In January, Mecham tore down most of the so-called Granite Block corner straddling 2100 South and Highland Drive for a planned retail and residential development. The demolition was supposed to be done by now so the construction zone could be layered in fresh landscaping for spring.... But the backhoes shut down when workers realized what's left of the Blue Boutique is just inches from the abutting bakery building. [...].
Meantime, merchants say the standoff has siphoned business and posed safety perils. "People think we're closed or we're being torn down," says Laurie Bray, whose photography business in the adjacent Rockwood Art Studios has plummeted 50 percent since the demolition. "It's going to be a travesty if this sits here for two years". [...].
Mecham... maintains the project is not stalled - "I know people perceive it to be that way, but it's not," he said - adding that financing "is not holding this up." At the same time, the developer concedes the slowdown in the commercial real-estate market is "a scary situation," and he worries about his timing. "Everything is softening," Mecham said. "It makes us nervous, to be quite honest."
Let us hope, fervently, that projects already under way or planned at The Junction are not going "on hold" in light of the softening economy and the advent of The Bush Recession. It would be very bad news for Ogden if they did.

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