Holladay bids farewell to old TGIF building
Jun 25, 2018 12:24PM ● Published by Aspen Perry
North entrance to Ivory/Woodbury hosted block party. (Aspen Perry/City Journals)
By Aspen Perry | firstname.lastname@example.org
Crowds filled the generally empty parking lot where the former Macy’s and TGIF restaurant once conducted business on Friday, June 15, for a block party hosted by Ivory and Woodbury.
The party was an effort to thank the residents of Holladay for their engagement during the site development master plan (SDMP) proposal that will see the 57-acre lot redeveloped into a mixture of residential, retail and green space. The party also included food, bounce houses, face painting, music and a live demolition of the dilapidated TGIF.
“I went on my first date [at TGIF], and have great memories there…but it’s been closed so long, to finally see it come down was exciting,” said Lindsay Godsey, who lives in the neighborhood west of the proposed development.
There was plenty to do for the 1,200-1,500 residents in attendance, according to Michael Parker with Ivory, such as enjoying Meier’s food truck, or popcorn and cotton candy, as well as adding personal flare to the community art project — a crowd favorite for young attendees.
While the band and bounce houses lifted spirits of young and old, the main attraction came when demolition of the TGIF began. The crowd cheered as the excavator took its first bite out of the old building, with many taking video and photos to commemorate the moment.
In talking with block partiers, several commented on their excitement to see the land “finally” being developed.
“I’m excited to see this area revitalized after struggling to keep businesses open and nearby schools thriving,” Godsey said.
While the overall feeling at the block party was one of excitement, it’s a sentiment not shared by all Holladay residents. Recently, one group, Unite For Holladay, began collecting signatures for a referendum, which would allow citizens “to vote to deny (or accept) the proposed plan,” during a special election according to UniteForHolladay.com.
“The referendum is an opportunity for Holladay residents to decide if they want to subsidize tax incentives for a high-rise, high-density apartment development,” said Brett Stohlton with Unite for Holladay.
Stohlton further added, “We are hoping for the best possible outcome for the entire community, and when we engage with residents they have been extremely supportive.”
Volunteers going door to door to collect signatures for the referendum report 9 out of 10 residents being eager to sign.
Those opposed to the referendum appear to view the process as adding unnecessary heartburn to an already scrutinized process.
“The revised plan is a product of intense negotiations between the public, the city, and the developer,” said the president of Holladay Citizens for Responsible Development (HCRD).
“These talks resulted in significantly lowered building heights, reduced residential density, secured retail space, and capped the tax incentive.”
Other frustrations appear to be directed at the lack of an alternative being offered by those seeking a special election, in place of what the developers have proposed.
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, a Holladay resident, recently said, “I support residents who choose to protest the development in a legal process, but I don’t know if they understand what it would mean to have an election.”
“What would they offer instead?” Spackman Moss asked, “What if the developers just walk away?”
Cost is another concern facing the city as they prepare to make adjustments to the city budget in preparation for the fees associated with a special election.
As this issue went to print, Holladay city officials planned to vote on their annual budget, which would include designating $20,000 for special election fees.
“There will likely be other funds as well, but those costs are yet to be determined,” said Gina Chamness, city manager.
Signatures in favor of the referendum must be submitted by July 12, at which time they will be vetted by the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office. The number of days it will take to validate signatures will depend on other issues the county has queued up, but the general timeline is usually under 30 days.
Though emotions can run high at moments, residents, like Paula Delis, are hopeful for the future of Holladay. “Holladay has such great, talented, and caring citizens. I believe that things will work out,” she said.
In the meantime both residents in favor and opposed to the referendum will be anxiously waiting to see what unfolds next for the 57-acre lot.