It’s bridge-building time at the Railyards. Over the next couple of months, crews will drive more than 200 steel piles into the ground. Each is more than 100 feet long and weighs several tons. It’s the next step in building three different bridges on 5th and 6th streets. They’ll stretch over the railroad tracks on the project’s southern border and connect the new development to Downtown.
But the money for the pile driving is all public – it comes from state bonds. And the work starts just two weeks after the lender backing the project began the foreclosure process on the property. Developer Thomas Enterprises owes the lender nearly $200 million and has already seen several of its other projects fall into bankruptcy. If Thomas loses control of the Railyards, tens of millions in public funds earmarked for the development could be at risk. So city officials say they’re keeping a close eye on negotiations between Thomas and the lender.