Thursday, October 09, 2008

"Mr. Mecham, Fill Up This Hole"

Well, everyone's least favorite swimming hole in the making, the Mecham pit in Sugar House is back in the news. The City wants Mecham to fill that hole by Winter. Mecham's first line of defense is that he's being singled out when there are other projects out there that are out of compliance. His second line is that he's finding financing harder to get than he expected.

First, I can't think of a project out there that's as big a mess in as bad a location as Mecham's. It's prime real estate that two years ago was one of our prime, independent shopping districts, and it's been nothing but a chain link fence and a hole in the ground for months, including this entire construction season. So, no, he isn't being singled out. Even if he were being singled out, his argument is about like telling the cop who pulls you over for speeding, "Hey, you can't ticket me. Other people are speeding too." Good luck with that.

Second, financing is always a gamble on projects like this. Mecham isn't Don Trump; he can't snap his fingers and make it rain money. Even Trump can't do that any more. This problem was completely foreseeable a year ago when he knocked the block down, and even before then when he evicted all his tenants. This isn't even the first time he's made this excuse. He said the same thing back when the City was imposing some frankly reasonable restrictions on his demolition permit.

Sorry Mr. Mecham, I can't sympathize. Either clean up your mess, or sell that property to someone who can.

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