The Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency will likely acquire control of roughly 90 percent of ailing Block 57 in downtown Salt Lake City under an unofficial agreement reached this week, RDA officials say.
The RDA and attorneys for two landowners, one of whom is suing the agency in a reverse condemnation suit, could reach an agreement next Tuesday stipulating the RDA can condemn their properties totaling 21/2 acres, RDA attorney William Oswald said.The agreement also entails that Charles Horman, of S.M. Horman & Sons, will move to dismiss a $4 million lawsuit filed against the RDA charging that the threat of RDA condemnation has interfered with his business, Oswald said.
Oswald called the RDA's move a "friendly condemnation. . . . Both parties are asking we condemn the property," he told the City Council, seated as the RDA board.
The RDA will pay the appraised $4 million value of the two properties, putting down 75 percent initially, while a judge determines the value of the individual properties and allocates a commensurate portion of the $4 million to each owner.
Condemnation of the two parcels, mostly situated on Block 57's interior, means the RDA owns or has a contract controlling the acquisition of 90 percent of Block 57 land, excluding four parcels on the southwestern corner.
More importantly, dismissal of the lawsuit means the RDA can proceed immediately on masterplanning the block, RDA Executive Director Michael Chitwood said. Wallace Associates was contracted by the RDA to plan the block's future development.
"Our goal by the end of the year is to have all of this property," Chitwood said, adding he is negotiating with three of the four remaining independent landowners.
The RDA wants to masterplan Block 57 to help focus development on the block, suffering from a dearth of viable business and considered a hindrance to development in the south downtown.