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Davis convention center loses its builder

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FARMINGTON — Davis County's longtime plans to build a $4.5 million convention center in Layton were thwarted when the construction company that was to build the center backed out of the project.

The repeated postponements on the project culminated Monday with a letter from Quantum Construction & Development to Davis County commissioners saying the company will not build the center in Layton.

Groundbreaking was scheduled for earlier this year but was repeatedly rescheduled this spring pending an agreement with the construction company, which never happened.

Commissioner Gayle Stevenson said before the letter arrived on Monday, commissioners were planning on a scheduled meeting with Quantum Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. to finalize plans and get the ball rolling.

"It's a complete surprise," Stevenson said. "I'm terribly disappointed."

Commissioners say Quantum kept putting the Layton project off while the company worked on construction of a project at Thanksgiving Point. An April groundbreaking date was set, then May, then June.

In a letter dated July 3 to county officials, Quantum's vice president of business development Brent E. Drew, states the project, which included a 172-room hotel, is too great a risk for the company to take without a business partner.

"The main issue with our company has been the hotel and the lack of a hotel operator willing to share in the risk. The recent Rocky Mountain hotel reports have shown Utah as a weak market and the myriad of hotels that have sprung up on Interstate 15 has greatly perplexed the situation," the letter states.

Stevenson says he is not sure what the next step is or when county officials will try to secure another construction company to build the conference center.

"We'll just sit tight for a while. It's just frustrating that we keep coming up against these roadblocks," he said.

E-mail: ehayes@desnews.com