The old Lincoln Junior High building, for years an abandoned shell that has made the intersection at 13th South and State resemble a bombed-out war zone, will be razed this fall and a new shopping center built in its place.
That's the scenario if the Salt Lake Planning and Zoning Commission gives final approval tonight to the plan that developers have for the site.And Chris Schulz, the city's staff planner who has overseen the project, expects no problems.
"This is one of the first rezonings I've seen where area residents stand up and say `You guys do what you can to help these developers out and don't you dare hinder them,"' Schulz said.
The 4.4 acre site has been bought by Stockwell Finance Corp., based in Santa Barbara, Calif., which will pay off a $332,150 promissory note, held by the Salt Lake Board of Education, by Sept. 30, Gary Harmer, school district business manager, said.
The State Street property was recently purchased from a Salt Lake company, Autonomy Inc., for an undisclosed amount, but the school district still held a lien against the old school, Harmer said.
The local development team for Stockwell is Yeats/Priest Development, based in Bountiful. Schulz said the company's principals, Lynn Yeates and Scott Priest began working months ago with neighborhood community councils in an attempt to find a use for the land that is compatible with the homes in the area while at the same time making best use of the commercial potential.
The result is a 40,000-square-foot, one-story shopping center that Schulz said would focus on "factory outlet" type stores.
If approved, as seems likely, Schulz said the developers will get a demolition permit for the old school on Friday and begin immediate clearing of the site.
The developers have already been before the Salt Lake City Council to request a change in zoning from the present three zones to one.
"It's a tradeoff," said Schulz, "because they are giving up some intensity on State Street in order to use the site commercially back toward 2nd East."
From the "heavy" commercial C-3 zoning on State Street, the entire site will be rezoned C-1 which is limited commercial, restricting height to no more than 25 feet and a minimum of 15 feet of landscaping around the property and 10 feet where it abuts houses on Edith Ave. Developers have agreed to a 20-foot landscaped zone along 2nd East.
"We think it's exciting," said Schulz, "and indicative of the way our economy is turning around. We have had tremendous response from the factory outlet people who all say they want to get into this kind of a market. It's a good indication that we (Salt Lake City) are on our way back economically."
Schulz said the project will help redevelopment all along State Street. "This will go a long way to stabilizing house and land values."
The sale to Stockwell ends a complex series of deals going back to Aug. 17, 1976, when the school board first sold the school to Autonomy Inc. for $600,001.
After the original sale, another developer purchased the property from Autonomy which, in turn, sold it to Bonneville International Inc., which talked of moving its operations there.
However, Bonneville instead moved to the Triad Center and Triad became the school's owner. When Triad ended up in bankruptcy court, so did the school. Autonomy, as the second mortgage holder, repossessed the property, while, at the same time, the school board, as the first mortgage holder, still held a $500,000 promissory note, Harmer said.
Stockwell's purchase of the promissory note, which will be paid in one lump sum, will end the school district's interest in the property, Harmer said.