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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tribune: 'Quagmire' Deal For Would-Be Mall Could Soon Lapse

Posted By on Sat, Dec 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM

If Boise-based developer Hawkins Companies doesn't begin construction of a proposed shopping mall near the Idaho-Washington border on the Pullman-Moscow Highway by Jan. 31, Washington's Whitman County could save nearly $6 million.

Calling the long-discussed project a "quagmire," this morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that the savings would occur if an agreement between Hawkins and Whitman County lapses.

"As far as them moving dirt before Jan. 31, I don't see that happening," Whitman County Supervisor Gary Petrovich told the Tribune.

The proposed mall, which has been on the drawing board for several years, would have been 714,000 square feet and designed to serve the increased development between the campuses of the University of Idaho and Washington State University. Whitman County agreed to reimburse Hawkins up to $9.1 million for public infrastructure improvements related to the project. But the mall was put on indefinite hold when the recession struck.

Meanwhile, two Whitman County commissioners who voted to approve the original sweetheart deal were voted out of office in 2012, "largely because of the public uproar over the deal," according to the Tribune.

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