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Not yet, for Main Street’s European flair
by Tom Busselberg
Jun 18, 2009 | 1684 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOUNTIFUL — A European flair to downtown Bountiful is going to have to wait a bit longer.

That’s the word from John Hepworth, who owns the land on the west side of Main Street, just north and south of 100 South, here.

About two years ago, he proposed building a three-story European-style mixed use development. It would feature retail shops on the main level and housing for the upper two floors.

“We’re still waiting for the economy to kick back in,” Hepworth told the Clipper earlier this week. “It seems like it would be a good thing for Main Street.”

A site plan was submitted last year for the project, but the one-year time limit has expired, said Bountiful City Planner Aric Jensen.

“He could resubmit the same plan, but he hasn’t refiled,” the city planner told the Clipper earlier this month.

As with so many projects, both locally and nationally, financing has put a crimp in original plans to move forward by now.

“It’s like a round peg in a square hole,” Jensen said of financing such a project. “The Gateway (in Salt Lake City) had a terrible time finding funding.

It includes a mix of housing and retail like Hepworth is proposing, only a much larger scale.

“Mixed use projects are very risky, unless it’s somewhere like New York City where they’re the norm,” he said.

“John (Hepworth) has said he is still moving forward on it, and we’ve offered him a loan for the project (from the city’s Redevelopment Agency),” Jensen said.

“I don’t anticipate Hepworth moving forward this year,” he said.

“We’ll be waiting a while longer,” Hepworth confirmed.

He has enlisted the architectural services of Bountiful architect Tom Smith, who traveled to France and took specific photos of some of the world’s most classic storefronts, there.

Hepworth previously told the Clipper that those storefronts have been adapted “to have that uniqueness of the residential, to be able to live right on Main Street.

“We hope if we get something going it will be ‘contagious’ for the rest of Main Street,” he said. “We’re getting a lot more support from the city to do something that would be very appropriate.”

Jensen didn’t express any safety or aesthetic concerns about the now-empty site that housed the Clipper on the south end of the project area. “It’s been backfilled. As long as he (Hepworth) keeps the weeds down and debris cleared,” there should be no problem, from the city’s standpoint.

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