Elevation Chandler still owes city $11K - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Elevation Chandler still owes city $11K

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Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2009 7:06 pm | Updated: 5:48 pm, Tue Jun 11, 2013.

Whoever ultimately redevelops the defunct Elevation Chandler property will be on the hook for more than $11,000 in city fees racked up but unpaid by the controversial project's previous developer, Jeff Cline.

The project's skeleton - about six unfinished concrete slab floors with steel rebar poking out in all directions - has haunted the high-profile intersection of loops 101 and 202 since work ground to a halt in 2006. Cline had planned to build two towers up to 12 stories high to house a hotel, luxury condos, offices and a fitness center on the 15-acre site just south of the Chandler Fashion Center, on Frye Road.

Cline declared bankruptcy last year. The phone number he lists for Elevation Chandler has been disconnected, and the project's Web site no longer exists. Calls to Cline's lawyer went unreturned, as well.

The site remains a dirt lot surrounded by a chain-link fence. Signs still proclaim the project's expected opening in 2007.

Jeff Kurtz, Chandler's acting planning director, said the property could be auctioned off in the coming weeks to settle Cline's debts. The would-be developer owes creditors millions of dollars.

Over the years, other developers have expressed interest in the site for their own projects, but there have been none recently, Kurtz said.

The property, on the convergence of two highways, next to a major mall, could be a major regional commercial destination, Kurtz said. It's a key piece of land, and it's valuable.

"It has wonderful exposure," he said. "It would be a great opportunity for a private developer."

However, Cline owes the city more than $11,000 in administrative processing, development review, and permit fees for work that city staff already has done, Kurtz said. He said it's typical practice to require subsequent developers to pick up administrative costs for city officials to authorize a site for development, incurred by previous builders.

Elevation Chandler's existing concrete structure would need to be reviewed, also, if a new builder desired to use what's already there, Kurtz said.

"Has the time and the weather influenced the structural capacity of that structure?" Kurtz said.

The city's general plan designates the property as a "growth node" associated with the adjacent mall, he said. Guidelines for the area call for compact groupings of businesses around the mall and potentially including retail, entertainment, high-end office and urban residential.

Any future proposals for the site would have to meet that definition, he said.

Cline's original Elevation Chandler proposal called for an "urban lifestyle resort" with a 10-story tower that included eight floors of hotel and a fitness club, topped by two floors of condos. Another 12-story tower would have featured four floors of offices topped by eight floors of condos, Kurtz said.

He said he expects developer interest in the site will return when the economy rebounds.

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