That there would be a major development there has been announced, before, but there has been some major tweaking to previous plans. And the economic situation impacting the nation and world hasnít made it easy to move forward, especially with mixed-use projects such as this one, he said.
ìFinancing is difficult in this economy,î Hepworth told the Clipper on Friday. ìThe uniqueness of the project makes financing a little bit more difficult. We still think it will end up being something very good for Bountiful.î
He said Bountiful Main Street is logical for such a project ñ unique in the state because of the mixture of historic and other buildings there, and its proximity to Salt Lake City.
ìYou have to go to a resort or travel for a considerable distanceî to see and get the feel for what Hepworth has in mind, said architect Tom Smith.
ìWe hope if we get something going it will be contagious for the rest of Main Street,î Hepworth said. ìWeíre seeing a lot more support from the city to do something that would be very appropriate.
ìThings are still in motion. I think there will be a correction in this economy, where financing will be a little bit more available,î he said.
Because both retail and residential (rental apartments) are in the mix, Hepworth and Smith, also of Bountiful, said itís harder to arrange financing.
Hepworth is trying to sell some other property he owns to help finance the Main Street development.
ìHeís been close to selling it (property in West Valley) for a long time, but it's never come through,î Smith said.
That includes some excavation ìto fix up the siteî at the old Clipper Building location to the north of 100 South.
ìThe incentive for investment for Main Street requires the cityís support. (Such incentives are needed) if Main Street is going to reach its potential. It needs the support of the city to encourage this,î Hepworth said.
City planner Aric Jensen concurred that the city is interested in working with Hepworth on the project.
ìI think the storefronts are as classic as they can be,î Hepworth said, adding that they could ìproduce a pattern that others could follow for this street.î
While Smith was on vacation to an area about 100 miles from Paris, he took many pictures of storefronts and buildings that could serve as models for the development.
ìThese are storefronts that we have adapted. And then to have that uniqueness of the residential, to be able to live right on Main Street,î Hepworth all said are pluses for the project.
ìThe design Tom (Smith) came up with, the setback (six to eight feet), a little bit more off the street, is giving a real invitation for the use of the sidewalk, with tables and chairs,î Hepworth said.
ìIf we can get this off the ground, itíll be the most real Main Street picture thatís been produced in the state of Utah.î
ìHeís (Hepworth) trying to make it a pleasant walking experience,î Smith said. His goal is to be inviting, give charm to the project.î