An unfinished commercial building that has annoyed Holladay residents since its conception has not drawn any tenants and should be torn down, local and state officials believe.
The five-story steel, glass and stucco shell at 2210 E. Murray-Holladay Blvd. has been tagged one of the worst development mix-ups in the county. Federal agencies - currently the FDIC - have offered the building for sale since the original developer went bankrupt in 1985. But the structure is so unusual that $10 million worth of construction has failed to draw a $2 million offer.Finishing the shell would cost another $4 million to $4.5 million, according to county planners.
What remained unknown until recently is whether the 1.75-acre lot would be worth enough to cover the cost of tearing the building down.
Estimates arriving at county offices as recently as Tuesday show it would cost $200,000 to $280,000 to scrape the building off and cover the footings and foundation. Clearing the lot completely would cost $285,000 to $320,000, said Salt Lake County Commission staff member Sands Brooke. The bare ground's commercial value might reach $450,000.
"Clearly, at this juncture, one has to look at the aspects of demolition. If the ground value exceeded the demolition cost, we thought it is something the FDIC should look at," Brooke said.
The current group of FDIC managers in California haven't even seen the building, and FDIC officers in Chicago who managed the building before that also may never have seen it, Brooke said.
County Commission Chairman Jim Bradley wrote to Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, to see if he could put pressure on the FDIC from the top while local officials lobby the federal agency at the grass-roots level. "I've worked for two years on this thing - a year and a half now of solid writing to the FDIC," said Sen. Delpha Baird, R-Salt Lake, who lives in Holladay. Getting the building torn down is the primary objective, she said. "If we can pull this thing off, it will be the best thing that has happened to Holladay in years."
The unfinished, 41,000-square-foot shell was built over the top of an existing office building and was originally designed to house luxury condominiums, doctors' offices and retail shops - an odd mix but allowable by zoning regulations.
Vandals and the absence of regular maintenance have taken their toll on the structure, which was fenced recently after neighbors complained about people loitering around the building.
"There is no way that today it is cost-effective to try and make anything out of that building. There is so much that would need to be done to the building to make it so you could use it," Baird said, adding that the community's first pick for the property would be to see it cleared and developed as a park.