Rebuffed developers of Cottonwood Mall site are deciding whether changes sought by critics would kill the project

(Tribune file photo) Ten years after the Cottonwood Mall was torn down, a proposal to revitalize the site has been put on hold after the Holladay Planning Commission rejected a proposal to build a residentially oriented development with a 136-foot office tower on the 57-acre site at Highland Drive and Murray-Holladay Road.

Holladay • An embattled proposal to redevelop the old Cottonwood Mall site is on hold.

For how long remains to be seen. But Holladay City officials don’t expect it to be too long, maybe a month or so, Mayor Rob Dahle said at a Thursday night meeting of the City Council.

The session had been moved to a larger meeting hall at St. Vincent de Paul church in the expectation that a sizable crowd might attend. Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corp. are proposing changes to an approved but stagnant plan to revitalize the 57-acre site of the venerable mall, most of which was torn down a decade ago.

While large, the crowd apparently was thinned by the Holladay Planning Commission’s 5-1 decision Tuesday to forward the proposal to the City Council with a negative recommendation.

That decision also prompted developers Clark Ivory and Jeff Woodbury, in telephone conversations and a written statement, to inform Dahle that they wouldn’t be attending Thursday’s meeting.

“They have decided to take a pause to consider possible changes to the revised plan and to determine whether it’s feasible given the constraints,” Dahle said.

The developers envisioned a development with 17 acres of offices, apartments and retail operations on the southeast corner of Highland Drive and Murray-Holladay Road. To make it stand out, the developers wanted to anchor this part of the mall site with a 136-foot-tall building capable of attracting a top-flight tenant or two.

The other 40 acres would have been residential, with subdivisions of single family homes flanked by larger townhomes and 4-story brownstones.

Planning commissioners determined the plan was not consistent with the vision of the city’s general plan and did not conform with the description of a regional mixed-use development, because of its emphasis on residential over commercial.

They also objected to the height of the proposed tower, how far it was set back from major streets, the limited connections between the development’s two sides, the layout of subdivision streets and the small sections of open space.

Reading the developers’ statement into the record, Dahle said he felt Ivory and Woodbury were still committed to building a first-class project “that will animate and energize the community.”

“I have every reason to believe they will continue with this application … that they think will be a long-term benefit to the citizens of Holladay,” Dahle said, expecting the developers to review the points made by the Planning Commission to “see where they can make changes that address those issues and come back.”