Holladay mayor's race focusing on Cottonwood Mall 'hole'
Candidates in Tuesday primary say stalled project is priority but differ on solutions.
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Four candidates are vying for the chance to be the next mayor of Holladay, and all four say the stalled Cottonwood Mall development tops their priority lists. However, they differ on how to move it forward.

Those seeking Holladay's top office are Blaine Anderson, 55; Robert Dahle, 53; Holli Dunn, 44; and Helen Redd, 48. In Tuesday's primary, voters will narrow that field to two.

Anderson said that as mayor, "the first thing I'd do is fly to Dallas and tell them how important the mall is to Holladay," referring to Cottonwood Mall-owner Howard Hughes Corp. "We need an updated timeline as to what they plan to do — and then hold them to it."

In a recent email to The Salt Lake Tribune, Caryn Kboudi, who heads up marketing for Howard Hughes Corp., said the company considers the Cottonwood Mall "an important and valuable strategic development, particularly as market conditions continue to improve."

"To that end, we are making good progress," Kboudi said of leasing efforts, adding that they hope to share more details "in the near future."

Dahle — former co-owner of Dahle's Big and Tall clothing stores who now works as a commercial real estate agent — said his plan for the Cottonwood Mall project is to "lock arms with the Howard Hughes Corp."

"Most people think it is the city's prerogative to start it, and that's not true," Dahle said of the proposed half-billion-dollar development.

Dahle noted that this is his "first foray into politics."

Holladay Councilman Jim Palmer said he encouraged Dahle to run, calling him a genuinely nice guy with an innate sense of public service.

Businesswoman Dunn said she dislikes the fact that since the mall's demolition in 2007, folks "have gotten used to driving around Holladay rather than through it."

"There's a hole in our city," Dunn said. "For those who live in Holladay and are raising families, we're frustrated that we have to leave the city to get what we need. ... We need to plug that hole."

The once-thriving Cottonwood Mall made Holladay's 1999 incorporation financially feasible, Redd said. But revenues dwindled, and the 1960s-era enclosed shopping center slowly went dark, store by store.

Redd believes her experience in overseeing plans for the highly successful Millrock office space development will benefit the city if she's elected mayor.

"I know from experience on the other huge major project in this city that the plan evolves throughout the entire development," Redd said.

"But let's move it along," Redd said of the Cottonwood Mall. "No more delays."

The amount of money in the candidates' campaign coffers varies dramatically. Some have already attracted and spent big bucks while others reported goose eggs on recent campaign finance reports.

Dunn has raised zero dollars so far and spent $113. However, that in no way reflects her level of enthusiasm for the city, she said.

"Of all the candidates, I probably need to campaign the least because everyone in Holladay knows what I can accomplish," Dunn said of her longtime civic involvement in the community. "I'm kind of well-known here."

By Aug. 1, Dahle had raised $4,600 and spent $22,458, mostly from his own pocket.

Should he not survive the primary, Dahle said he'd take a pretty good personal hit, "and that's OK." However, he hopes instead to crank his campaign into high gear and compete in November.

Redd, an attorney, has raised $130 so far and spent $4,677 on her campaign.

"I've been involved in the city for a long time" — as a foot soldier in its incorporation drive, chairing the planning commission and working on the Holladay Village Center, Redd said.

Anderson has amassed the most campaign cash from sources other than himself. One contributor — who he said was a frat brother of his father's — kicked in $10,000 of Anderson's total $16,615. By Aug. 1, Anderson had spent $14,185 on mailers, events and materials.

Anderson, a senior vice president for Morgan Stanley who has lived in the community for 20 years, said he figured it takes about $30,000 to run for mayor in Holladay.

Dennis Webb, Holladay's "part-time" mayor for the past decade, is not seeking re-election. Webb said he asked Anderson to jump into the race.

"I think Blaine is an outstanding citizen. Knowing him like I do, I think he's a great candidate for mayor," Webb said.

cmckitrick@sltrib.com

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Campaign cash in Holladay mayoral race

Blaine Anderson • Raised $16,615, spent $14,185

Robert Dahle • Raised $4,600, personally loaned $25,000 to his campaign, spent $22,458

Holli Dunn • Raised $0, spent $113

Helen Redd • Raised $130, personally loaned $4,600 to her campaign, spent $4,677

Source : Campaign finance reports, cityofholladay.com/elections.main.html