ZCMI facade back on Main Street

Published: Thursday, Aug. 25 2011 12:02 a.m. MDT

ZCMI facade, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The historic façade of the Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution has returned to Salt Lake City's downtown Main Street after three years and a major facelift.

The cast iron façade was removed for construction of the landmark City Creek project and reinstalled just north of its former location, attached to the west face of what will be a new Macy’s department store. The downtown icon represented Salt Lake City’s legacy of industry, cooperation and prosperity, said Bill Williams, director of architecture and engineering for City Creek Reserve Inc.

"ZCMI made a significant contribution to the commerce of downtown, especially to Main Street," he said. ZCMI was founded by Brigham Young in Salt Lake City in 1868.

Through ZCMI, settlers participated in a cooperative merchandising effort to manufacture, acquire and sell goods to one another and share in the profits, helping to establish Utah’s tradition of striving for economic self-sufficiency, a news release states.

The façade is 75 feet high and measures 140 feet in length. The structure is made up of a series of colonnades with 63 bays for windows and openings, is adorned with Corinthian columns, sculpted lion faces, accents of gold paint, “ZCMI” lettering and the department store’s dates of operation — 1868 to 1999.

"Good architecture is one way of saying permanence and the cast iron façade of ZCMI has become a statement of the permanence of a vital downtown core in one of America’s great cities,” said local historian Richard Oman.

The restoration was undertaken by CCRI, the downtown redevelopment arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which commissioned South Jordan-based Historical Arts & Casting Inc. to complete the task of dismantling, reconditioning and reconstructing the façade, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The façade’s return heralds the projected spring 2012 completion of the City Creek project, the estimated $1 billion mixed-use, master-planned project developed by CCRI. The retail portion, which will be anchored by Macy's, will be run by Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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