A letter from an Erickson Retirement Communities representative to Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt offers no good news related to the halt of construction at the Hickory Chase development near Leap and Davidson roads.

A letter from an Erickson Retirement Communities representative to Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt offers no good news related to the halt of construction at the Hickory Chase development near Leap and Davidson roads.

In a letter dated June 23, Steven Montgomery of Erickson Retirement Communities told Schonhardt the construction delay originally referred to as "temporary" is now considered "indefinite."

"As we have discussed, most recently on Tuesday of this week, Erickson has been working diligently with lenders to resolve the financing issue that led to the construction halt at Hickory Chase," Montgomery wrote. "We had hoped that this was a temporary move, but at this time, we cannot say with certainty that we will move forward in the near future."

Montgomery added that as a result of the "indefinite delay," construction trailers are being removed from the site. He assured Schonhardt, however, that his company would continue to secure the property and monitor the condition of the improvements.

"We will keep the marketing center open through July to assist people on our waiting list," Montgomery said. "We are offering them an array of options, including maintaining their reservations or remaining the priority list, incentives to move into any of our operating properties around the country, return of their deposit, including all service charges and pre-paid amounts paid to us and help in finding local alternatives."

When the delay was originally announced, Schonhardt said Hilliard would not be directly affected by the work stoppage.

Financial issues forced Erickson to halt the first phase of construction and has delayed the opening date for the development.

Construction ceased at the Hickory Chase site on May 11.

When work on the development stopped, the apartment building and clubhouse were approximately 80 percent complete. More than 100 people had made reservations at Hickory Chase as of May 11.

Hickory Chase was Hilliard's largest ongoing development project. The first phase of the $288-million project was to include a community center and 145 residential units. More than 800 residential units were scheduled to be built in the next three years.

City officials had hailed the campus-style complex for seniors age 62 and older as the centerpiece of a baby boomer-based development concept that would enrich the community with an influx of intellectual capital and a boost for the city's tax base without burdening the school district with additional students.

In addition to the residential component, Hickory Chase was expected to spur a secondary wave of adjacent medical, office, retail, restaurant and service-related businesses.