Sturgeon offers brief glimpses of how difficult the last three years have been. She signed the stop work orders at Park Avenue West in April 2009, a week after her second son, Cole, was born, and a few days after closing on a new house in Lake Oswego.
“It was all a blur,” she says.
Shutting down the project “was incredibly hard. The hardest part was there were no other construction jobs for the workers to jump to.”
“[The downturn] has been hard for people in the office,” she says. “They call counterparts at other firms and they’re just gone, voice mail disconnected. These are people who’ve worked for the same place for 10 or 20 years. So it’s tough for morale.”
But asked if the sight of that dormant hole kitty-corner from the Fox Tower gets under her skin, she grows terse. “It’s just part of the landscape now,” she says.
There is undoubtedly a hard-nosed edge to Sturgeon. She reportedly announced intentions to sue her father, Elie Kassab, for ownership of a theater property in Vancouver, Wash., after dinner at his house with her brother and sister in 2005. The children thought they’d been wronged in a divorce settlement between their mother, Kimberly Moyer, and Kassab, which granted him the company. (Sturgeon and her siblings lost in court.)
By the accounts of business associates, Sturgeon is now the developer in charge at TMT. But she says Moyer still remains a close adviser, descending from his condominium to the office every day, and checking in by phone when at his second home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. “We talk about everything,” Sturgeon says.