The Windmill Village project, planned for the center of downtown Star Valley, has been called off. The development would have included a town hall, post office, retail stores, restaurants and a hotel.
But when negotiations over the price of Star Valley's new town hall reached a stalemate, developers walked away.
Developer Paul Thomas of the Scottsdale based Acuvest, LLC, said the town hall building was an "anchor for the project." He said town officials had supported their place in the project throughout the development proceedings, up until two weeks ago.
"They lied to us for four months and all of a sudden, they didn't show up," Thomas said. "I didn't want to cancel the project, but the town killed it."
Star Valley Mayor Chuck Heron said he presumed that town officials wanted to wait for the 2007-2008 budget before they signed a letter of intent with developers.
At the May 1 council meeting, the council voted 4-2 against tabling the letter of intent until the budget was released. After vice mayor Randy White's motion, the council then voted by a 4-1 margin against signing the letter of intent at all.
Heron abstained from both votes. Councilmember Del Newland was the sole supporting vote to sign the letter of intent with the Windmill Village developers.
The town's budget will be completed by the end of the month, Heron said.
"(The developers) were in a hurry to get the money situated and that bothered me," Heron said. "We had to have it in our budget and they couldn't wait."
Thomas said that in a meeting last month between developers, Heron and Town Manager Vito Tedeschi, the price tag of $1.5 million for the town hall wasn't an issue.
"The reality is they came in and they lied about what they wanted," Thomas said. "We tried to work with them. They prevented the town from growing. They prevented revenue for the town."
Heron said he is interested in continuing negotiations with developers, as long as they are within the town's budget.
"I'm ready to go back to the bargaining table," he said. "The whole town is. We're willing to negotiate with them, as long as it doesn't encumber the residents of Star Valley."
Thomas said he had already invested nearly $40,000 on the project. He said it was unlikely the project would continue with the current town government in place.
"It's very improbable that we will do this development because of the current town officials," Thomas said. "I'm not going to risk any more capital on people who backstab us."
At tonight's meeting, the council will decide whether it wants to pursue a three-year lease for a temporary town hall at a building on Highway 260 in front of the Star Vale Mobile Home Park. The location was formerly Payson Marine.
Heron said town officials will eventually decide upon a permanent town hall setting and it will likely be constructed specifically for that purpose.