Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Developer presses South S.L. on bond

Deseret News
Developer presses South S.L. on bond

By Rebecca Palmer

Deseret News
Published: Monday, Oct. 5, 2009 10:31 p.m. MDT

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The City Council here has until mid-October to decide whether it will borrow $9.5 million on behalf of Market Station developer Steve Aste.

The developer has told the council that he is under financial pressure to secure funding for the proposed $500 million project between Main Street and State Street near 2100 South. But contrary to statements by city officials, the developer denies that his project is in foreclosure.

The proposed $9.5 million bonding would go toward purchase of the underlying property.

Private funding for the 16-acre mixed-use project fell away with the housing crash and resulting economic recession, Aste said.

If built, Market Station will include a 27-story condominium building, prime office space and about 18,000 feet of retail capacity. It would center around the planned Sugar House trolley line, which would connect this industrial suburb to Salt Lake City.

"Long-term, this is a great thing for the city economically and otherwise," Aste said. "We think this goes a long way to solving a lot of issues within the city."

The City Council wants to save the project, but it is waiting on an independent analysis from Market and Feasibility Advisors before it makes a decision on the $9.5 million bond.

"I don't have a lot of warm fuzzies about it," said council member Shane Siwik. "I'm optimistic that the project could eventually be a great boon for the city, but this, to me, is an absolute last resort."

If the elected officials don't approve the bond, Aste committed to move forward with the project using private money.

Meanwhile, outgoing South Salt Lake Mayor Bob Gray has held off on voicing an opinion about the bond. However, his office has been working with Aste on several different financing methods, he said.

If Market Station ultimately fails, the city is pursuing deals with other developers to revitalize the property.

One of those options is an apartment/condominium development on 6.6 acres of the Market Station land. The council has tabled proposals for a bond for that plan, waiting for a decision on the Aste proposal.

The council next plans to discuss the bond at its Oct. 14 meeting. If council members fail to decide then, a special meeting could be held in order to accommodate Aste's time line.

e-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com
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