Key to the city's vision of creating a walkable marketplace is the reconfiguration of the harried intersection where 2300 East, Murray-Holladay Road and Holladay Boulevard converge.
A conceptual road plan - boasting small midblock streets, plazas and water features - will draw people and encourage them to linger. That's the hope, at least, of developer Dan Lofgren of Cowboy Partners,
"We're trying to create an invitation, a place where people will come for no reason at all," Lofgren said at last week's council meeting. "The city has a role in creating that Village. That's why you created an RDA." Lofgren referred to Holladay's commitment to reinvest future tax dollars from the redevelopment to upgrade infrastructure and prop up the pedestrian-friendly design.
"There are two approaches: Let it happen and you get strip [malls]. If you want something unique, a destination with a town feel, the city has to step up and pay for some of those costs, infrastructure in particular," Mayor Dennis Webb said. "We're finding ways to find that money without burdening the taxpayer."
What could become a unique attraction - with boutiques, eateries, offices and residential lofts - requires commitment to the vision, said Lofgren, adding that eminent domain might be needed to establish the new road network.
"Absent a public purpose, we can't proceed," Lofgren said. "There is a compelling public interest in the reconfiguration of Murray-Holladay Road."
The city's principal role is to plan the Village's roads, Councilman Steve Peterson said.
"The only time we need to be involved in the process is through eminent domain," he said. "It's essential that we, as a city, maintain the integrity of the streetscape and its design."
Wielding that power - taking private property for public use - makes some council members uncomfortable.
"I'm not sure I have the commitment to condemn property," Councilman Lynn Pace said.
Holladay City Council is poised to vote Thursday on development standards and road design for the proposed Village. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 4707 S. Holladay Blvd.