Though the construction equipment and several of the signs that had camped at the old gravel pit site all winter have vanished, North Salt Lake Mayor Shanna Schaefermeyer said both absences are just the marks of spring cleaning. City officials are still in talks with Compass Development, which is still trying to secure enough capital to move ahead with the project.
“Camco Construction (the general contractors for the curb and gutter phase of the project) were just parking their equipment there for the winter,” said Schaefermeyer. “Compass Development hasn’t gone bankrupt – I talk to Ben [Lowe, principal for Compass] almost daily.”
As for the signs, only the large one advertising the potential Eaglewood Corporate Center remains. New fence signs are expected to return once vertical development begins.
“They were old and blowing around,” said North Salt Lake City Manager Collin Wood. “They were kind of an eyesore.”
The question of when exactly that vertical development will appear, however, remains very much in the air. Though not bankrupt, Compass Development has struggled with liquidity issues – having enough free cash to work with – since early in the project.
The recession and corresponding slumps in the housing market have only increased its difficulties.
Though necessary drainage work has been done on the site, as well as infrastructure construction, work on the site is likely to be on hold for the foreseeable future.
Several planned start dates for the beginning of vertical construction have already passed, and Compass representatives have stopped making estimates on when residents can see more obvious signs of progress.
Still, they continue to insist that they’re working on arrangements that will help move the development ahead.
“It’s definitely not dead,” said Lowe.
North Salt Lake and Davis County recently entered into a Community Development Agreement (CDA) in order to help Compass hold on to some of its fluid capital once vertical construction begins. Davis School District, however, will likely not participate in the CDA, and both city and Compass officials are currently crunching numbers to see what kind of impact that will have on the project.
North Salt Lake, however, is comfortable with being patient. Even with the CDA, the city has no money sunk into the project, and therefore won’t be out anything if the project fails.
The land, which has been improved by the work done on it so far, will simply wait until the next interested party comes along.
“There will be no drain on the city’s finances,” said Schaefermeyer. “And even if another developer has to come in and look at it, we have a better piece of property to offer him than we did before.”