The southwest corner of First South and Main streets will take on a different look in the next few months as Zions First National Bank has scheduled demolition of several buildings to make room for ground-level parking space.
"We need to develop more parking space to accommodate people in the Kearns Building and customers of the bank (located on the corner)," Robert Barnes, property management officer for Zions, told the Deseret News. Zions Bank has an office on the corner with existing parking space south and west of the building.Barnes said the demolition is scheduled for completion this fall so the parking lot can receive an asphalt surface before the asphalt plants close for the winter.
Although there are no blueprints or definite plans for the area, Barnes said eventually a parking structure and an office building will be constructed next to the bank. But, "that is a long way down the road," he said.
The demolition will not include the historic Zions Bank building but will include the Peterson Building, 31 W. First South where Hoagies Heroes Sandwich Shop and Hogan Trading Post are located, west of the present parking lot.
For demolition south of Zions, Barnes is negotiating the purchase of Home Savings and Loan, 116 S. Main, and sent notice on Aug. 1 to Bill Shipler Photo, 118 S. Main, and Holly's Novelty and Magic, 1181/2 S. Main, to vacate the premises by Aug. 31.
Shipler owns both businesses and said Friday that he doesn't know where he will be moving. Shipler has been at that location for 28 years, having moved there from across the street at 117 S. Main.
"We're not pleased to have to move, but beyond that I don't know what to say," he said. "I don't think where there is occupied space and foot traffic that a parking lot is helping."
Next to Shipler's businesses is Alphagraphics at 122 S. Main. Barnes said only part of that building is owned by the bank and the other by the company, which means that building won't be affected by present demolition plans.
Barnes said he hasn't advertised for bids on the demolition project, making it difficult to determine how much money the project will cost. In the attempt to get a demolition permit from the city, the frontage must be landscaped, he said.
Despite landscaping, additional blacktop parking lots in downtown Salt Lake do not fit into development plans proposed by Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team _ a group of planners that studied the decaying downtown area last June and made some 80 recommendations to revitalize the business district.
"There's no way it can fit into R/UDAT's proposals," Michael Stransky, a local architect and R/UDAT steering committee member, said of Zions Bank's plans for additional parking.
"We don't need that much parking. R/UDAT found there is plenty of parking, I think we said that 30 percent of the downtown area is parking and streets."
Stransky said it would serve downtown development better if the buildings were "sensitively boarded up" rather than torn down.
"It's not appropriate to tear down a building that is viable and occupied and leave the space vacant. Parking is vacant space, and it leaves a hole in the community."
Zions Bancorp president Harris Simmons said the bank is obligated to provide the parking under an agreement with owners of the Kearns building, 136 S. Main, from which Zions recently purchased property on the block. He said the ground-level parking is only the first phase of a development which would eventually move parking into a structure in the interior of the block.