Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Developer Craig Mecham discusses the construction and development of the site on the former Granite block in Sugar House.

The northeast corner of 2100 South and Highland Drive in Sugar House remains in a blighted state, despite commitments by the developer to begin rectifying the situation.

Craig Mecham again is asking Salt Lake City for more time to begin landscaping work at the stalled construction site where he plans to build a high-end residential, office and retail development.

Late last week, an attorney for Mecham sent a letter to the city requesting that the developer be given until Aug. 14 to begin backfilling and landscaping the property, saying that would allow enough time to address problems that have stalled the demolition and gain site-plan approval from the Planning Commission.

The letter was dated Thursday, the same day Mecham told the Deseret News he planned to comply with the city's order to begin landscaping this week and complete the work within 30 days.

"We did receive a directive from the city to landscape, and we will," he told the Deseret News on Thursday. "We'll do exactly what they want us to do."

Apparently Mecham and his attorney were not on the same page. The developer's pledge is contradicted in the letter to the city from attorney David L. Bird. Now, the developer wants to the city to agree to push back the deadline 3 1/2 months from the original date, according to the letter.

The Deseret News obtained a copy of the letter through the Government Records Access and Management Act.

City officials are drafting a response to send to Mecham as soon as today, said Helen Langan, spokeswoman for Mayor Ralph Becker.

Mecham originally committed to begin landscaping the site on April 30 in order to obtain a demolition permit before receiving site approval. The landscaping plan called for the hole in the ground to be filled and a 15-foot berm of ground cover to be installed along the borders of the construction site, with trees lining the property.

Mecham's attorney now is proposing a scaled-down landscaping plan to be installed "if the city will not grant the short and reasonable extension," according to the letter.

Mecham's decision to obtain a demolition permit by submitting a landscaping plan contradicts his statements during a Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 26.

The developer told planning commissioners he wouldn't go that route because he wanted the commission to follow the process through to the final result.

The project stalled when it was discovered that the partially demolished Blue Boutique building shares a wall with its neighbor to the west, a building owned by Rockwood Investment Associates. Continued work could collapse the building, the developer said.

E-mail: [email protected]