Ken Soucy is not happy his home overlooks a deteriorating construction site. The Gilbert resident said his 11-year-old son and his peers routinely ride their bicycles through the neighborhood, and Soucy is concerned that the defunct Tierra Office Park poses a danger.
Ken Soucy is not happy his home overlooks a deteriorating construction site.
The Gilbert resident said his 11-year-old son and his peers routinely ride their bicycles through the neighborhood, and Soucy is concerned that the defunct Tierra Office Park poses a danger.
"I ain't happy with it being halfway done," Soucy said while standing on his porch, where he can see the tops of the buildings.
The site near the northeast corner of McQueen and Elliot roads is strewn with trash, weeds and other debris. Rusting metal bolts protrude from some of the foundations.
At least one of the buildings is clearly succumbing to the elements, with one wall leaning and appearing ready to topple over.
"Knowing that it's unstable like that is pretty unnerving," Soucy said.
It's not clear who owns the development or when work stopped, although a sign says the project was financed by Silver State Bank, which was shut down by regulators in September.
Gilbert's Code Compliance department declined to identify the current owner, and the town's business development manager, Dan Henderson, didn't return phone calls about the property.
Adam Adams, a code compliance administrator, said he's received one complaint about the property, but there's little the town can do at this point other than secure the area and notify the owner about the safety concerns. He said he notified the owner about 10 days ago. The town also placed traffic barricades and yellow construction tape around the area of the property where the wall is tipping.
Bob Kammrath, a Phoenix-based real estate consultant, said cities and towns in the Valley can expect to see more of these situations in which developers leave projects to decay after losing financing.
"These cities have to have a system in place to deal with it," he said.
Kammrath said that it may require a judge's order, but the town has legal options. He said officials could go so far as to bulldoze a construction site if it was deemed too hazardous, but the town may not recover the costs.
"They don't want to spend the money. That's the long and short of it," he said.
Tierra isn't alone. Work has halted on numerous projects around the East Valley as financing has dried up.
One of the most notable examples is Elevation Chandler, a planned 12-floor hotel, condo and office development at the intersection of Loops 101 and 202. Work stopped there in 2006.
The 120,000-square-foot Forum development at Val Vista Drive and Williams Field Road lost its financial lifeblood when federal regulators declared its lender, First National Bank of Arizona, insolvent. Project officials recently said they expected work to start soon.
Shanna Sabo, the manager of the Buffalo Wild Wings across Elliot Road from Tierra, said she's disappointed the development wasn't completed because she was counting on the additional customers.