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PROJECT’S PRIMARY CONCERN: PLENTY OF TLC

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Twelfth Avenue hasn't rung with the sounds of pounding hammers and wailing power saws for more than 40 years, but the $40 million Capitol Park ultra-upscale housing development has changed all that.

Crews are working overtime at the building site on the grounds of the old Primary Children's Hospital as the deadline for a small but very special home show approaches in less than a month.Small because there will be only four homes open for public perusal at the show, which runs July 12-21, but special because the proceeds will go to the new Primary Children's Medical Center and because the houses range in price from $700,000 to $1 million.

The $40 million Capitol Park project, which stretches from D to F Streets, is development at its most difficult, says Chris McCandless, a partner in Capitol Park Development L.C.

Difficult because of the slope of the building lots, the need to respect the architectural and historical continuity of the Avenues, the desire to retain and work around as many of the old-growth trees as possible (an arborist was retained to advise on that), and the problems inherent in constructing in an area that has seen little such work since the old Primary Children's Hospital - which has been razed - was completed in 1952.

In such a neighborhood, a developer is going to take some heat no matter how careful he is.

But McCandless has a reputation for taking on home building projects at difficult sites, and he says officialdom was more cooperative than usual on the Capitol Park development.

"It's the first time in my career that I've had unanimous approval of the City Council and Planning Commission," he said.

McCandless' partners in the 23-acre development include Martin Lingwall, Kevin Oakes and Wayne Niederhauser. They bought theland from Park City Construction Co., which had bought it from Intermountain Health Care. The Park City group, which includes well-known Utah developer Wally Wright, retained the old Veteran's Administration Hospital, also located on the site, and has plans to restore the building and convert it to other uses, possibly condominium homes.

A red brick wall that is identified with the brick of the old hospital has been retained and expanded as a long retaining wall, with a portion enclosing a small "pocket park" on 12th Avenue that will be dedicated to Salt Lake City in memory of the hospital.

To further carry out the connection to the hospital, the four new streets being constructed to serve the interior of the development all have been given names to memorialize the hospital: Penny Parade Drive, Charity Cove, Red Brick Court and Caring Cove.

"When we are finished, we want the area to have a kind of New England look, a unified appearance that will fit in with the Avenues," said McCandless.

To that end, an architectural review committee must approve all building plans - the covenants and restrictions on construction are as many and detailed as any ever built in Utah, he said. Broadly, no contemporary home designs are acceptable. The five homes currently under construction are all "classic"-style homes and, when completed, should look like they've been there for years.

"The important thing for us about this project is that it's not just another subdivision," said McCandless. "Years from now we'll be able to go back and say, `We built this place. It's something to be proud of."'

The show homes feature stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, state of the art security systems, lavish home theaters and data systems, and elaborate trim work. Two even have elevators and all include verandas and decks to take advantage of the city views.

Parking on the streets is a major problem in the Avenues, so all the homes must have garage space for three cars. But it's not that simple, said McCandless. The developers had to avoid the "all garage, no house" look so ubiquitous in suburbia. That meant they had to get quite imaginative in building garage space under the homes. To make sure those garages get used, the city has banned residents from parking on the streets. Guests have a 32-hour limit.

Street lights will be placed every 80 feet and will match those found in the older, lower Avenues and in the new City Creek Park.

McCandless and Lingwall estimate the entire 54-home project will be sold out in two years. All 20 of the lots in Phases 1 and 2 have been sold to a group of four builders, including Douglas Knight Construction, Golden Oak Construction, Gary Anderson Construction, and JBG Enterprises.

Lot prices have so far ranged from $154,000 to $175,000. Developers expect Phase 3 lots to sell in the $200,000 range. Phase 4, which they say has the best views of the Capitol and Memory Grove, will likely go for considerably more. They estimate that the least expensive home in the project may go for around $450,000, but because of the lot prices, that price would be a "pretty bare bones house."

Funding for the project is through Freedom Mortgage. Knight and Associates is handling the marketing. For more information call 567-4096.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Home show opens July 12

The Primary Children's Benefit Home Show at the new Capitol Park development will open Friday, July 12, and run through Sunday, July 21. It is located on the site of the old Primary Children's Hospital on 12th Avenue between D and F Streets.

Hours of the show will be noon to 8:30 p.m. daily. Tickets will be $7 in advance and $10 at the door.

Access will be available only from F Street with parking off of 13th Avenue and around the old Veteran's Hospital.

Four homes, ranging in price from $700,000 to $1 million will be open for the show.

Proceeds will go to benefit the new Primary Children's Medical Center. The developers have set a target of $100,000 in donations.