Ravell Call, Deseret News
Landscaping work on the northeast corner of 2100 South and Highland Drive must be finished by July 3, Salt Lake City officials say.

Salt Lake City again has denied a developer's request for more time to install landscaping at a stalled construction site in Sugar House.

In a letter sent to Craig Mecham Investments on Wednesday, building official Orion Goff said the city is standing by its July 3 deadline for landscaping work to be complete on northeast corner of 2100 South and Highland Drive.

It's the second time Salt Lake City has said no to Mecham's requests for an extension.

If landscaping doesn't begin immediately, the city is threatening legal action against Mecham and/or the capture of the $20,000 bond posted by the developer in order to obtain a demolition permit.

In January, crews began demolishing buildings on the portion of the former Granite Furniture block owned by Mecham. The developer submitted a landscaping plan to the city so he could begin demolition work before obtaining site-plan approval from the Planning Commission.

Soren Simonsen, who represents much of Sugar House on the Salt Lake City Council, has called the use of landscaping plans as a shortcut to demolition a loophole in the city's permitting process. Simonsen is working to eliminate the option.

The city is mandating that a 15-foot perimeter of the construction site be landscaped with ground cover and trees, and the fence surrounding the project be reinstalled behind the landscaping, creating a buffer between the public right of way and the work area.

Demolition has stalled over a shared wall between the partially torn down former Blue Boutique building owned by Mecham and an abutting building owned by Rockwood Investment Associates. Mecham owns the wall, but knocking it down would cause serious damage to the abutting building, according to the developer.

Mecham has given Rockwood until the end of this month to prepare for the shared wall's removal. To allow time for those negotiations and to receive site-plan approval from the Planning Commission, Mecham requested an extension until Aug. 14 to begin construction.

The city denied the request, saying building officials believe the shared wall can be braced from the existing floor of Mecham's building, allowing all but the west wall of former Blue Boutique building to be demolished.

Mecham plans to build a high-end residential, office and retail development at the site. Attempts to reach Mecham for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.


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