In October, the church received its first demolition permits from the city, and by the end of that month, the historic Inn at Temple Square, on the southeast corner of West Temple and South Temple streets, had closed its doors for good. A month later, demolition had begun, making way for one of the planned condo towers.
Today, demolition work is well under way on the adjacent Crossroads parking structure.
The LDS Church has also been given initial approval from the Planning Commission for three of the planned residential towers, including the 415-foot-tall one. Those towers needed special approval because they exceed the 100-foot height guidelines for midblock buildings that is, buildings not built on corners.
But the plan hasn't been without some controversy. Among the first debates was the church's initial plan to demolish the Deseret/First Security Bank building on the northeast corner of 100 South and Main Street.
Calling the building a "gem" of classical revival architecture, the Utah Heritage Foundation led the charge to save the almost 90-year-old building.
Built in 1919, it was originally home to Deseret National Bank, which early church President Brigham Young opened on the same corner in 1871. It later became headquarters of the Eccles family's First Security Bank, which in 2000 merged with Wells Fargo.
Calls by historic preservationists and residents to save the structure, with its carved lions' heads peering from the top, ornate buffalo and Indian head medallions and two rows of classical columns, were answered when, in December, the LDS Church announced it had decided to let the building stay. Its use has not been decided, but PRI officials have said it could be put to residential or office use.
Another point of contention in the City Creek Center plans has been the idea of a skywalk, which PRI and Taubman officials hope to see spanning Main Street, connecting the upper level of retail on the two blocks.
Two city master plans, however, prohibit aboveground pedestrian walkways that would disrupt certain view corridors or discourage street-level pedestrian activity. Main Street is specifically named for its views of Ensign Peak to the north.
Taubman officials say the skywalk is needed to make the retail component viable, though they have stopped short of calling it a deal-breaker.
Among critics of the skywalk is Mayor Rocky Anderson, who remains skeptical of the idea although he has somewhat softened his originally hard-and-fast opposition.
The Planning Commission has given the skywalk a small boost by recommending that the City Council amend the master plans to allow the possibility of skywalks when no other alternatives are feasible and precautions have been taken to protect views and street-level commercial activity.
The amendments would give the city final design approval on any skywalks, and the City Creek Center bridge would not be given the OK unless PRI could show that it met those requirements.More details on the plans for City Creek Center, including maps, illustrations and information on sidewalk closures and available parking, is available at www.downtownrising.com.
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