Ashley Lowery, Deseret News
The carriage house on a Sugar House cul de sac was built in 1855 and has decorative woodwork on the doorways and roof line.

Neighbors' pleas for preservation have saved a 153-year-old carriage house in Sugar House from demolition — at least temporarily.

Dan Richards of ADC Corp. plans to build three duplexes on 0.8 acres at approximately 2750 S. 1000 East, using dead-end Forest View Avenue to access the development.

The project, as proposed recently to the Salt Lake City Planning Commission, would require demolition of three buildings at the site — a single-family home, an old wash house and the historic carriage house.

After listening to comments from the developer and residents who live near the property, commissioners crafted a compromise that allows the project to move forward while delaying — and possibly preventing — demolition of the carriage house.

The conditional approval calls for a phased development, allowing Richards to build up to five units on the property while requiring him to "make every effort" to save the carriage house.

"Only as a last resort would it be demolished," Commissioner Prescott Muir said as part of his motion to approve the project.

To build the sixth unit, Richards must prove to city staff that he has no other option than to knock the building down.

Richards said he likely will build the first two duplexes — or four units — and hold off on the third until the carriage house issue is resolved, rather than modifying design of the third duplex to build five units.

The carriage house, built in 1855, is a stand-alone 1,600-square-foot brick building with decorative woodwork on the doorways and along the roof line.

"It's in fairly decent condition," said city planner Doug Dansie.

Richards is calling the development Carriage Court, and designs for the new buildings feature architecture similar to that of the historic structure.

"I think it would be a shame to call it Carriage Court and tear the carriage house down," said John Tronier, a Forest View Avenue resident.

The Sugar House Community Council has requested that the carriage house somehow be incorporated into the development, possibly as a clubhouse for the duplexes or even as a gazebo.

"In this development, you could really incorporate that into a garage or a smaller home," said Derek Payne, community council board member. "I think it would be a great amenity for the development."

Other possibilities for preservation include moving the structure to a site where its historic value would be celebrated, such as This Is the Place Heritage Park.

Richards said cost estimates to move the building range between $60,000 and $80,000. That figure gets higher, he said, the farther it has to move.

"There are a lot of people who want to keep it, but they don't have a lot of ideas about how to keep it or what to keep it for," the developer said.

Historic preservation groups such as the Utah Heritage Foundation so far have not gotten involved in efforts to save the building.

The carriage house is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places because past and present property owners have not sought a nomination, Dansie said.

Commissioners also attempted to ease another residents' concern about the project — increased traffic on Forest View Avenue.

Plans call for the gated driveway at the east end of Forest View Avenue, a dead-end street, to be expanded for access to the new residences. Residents who live on the street are worried that the project will put more cars on their now-quiet cul-de-sac.

"We moved there because of the dead-end street and the fenced yard," resident Benny Keele said. "This would directly affect the value of my property."

Planning commissioners required that the developer reduce visitor parking for the complex from nine stalls to six. Under the revised plan, visitors would access the complex from 1000 East. A pedestrian walkway would connect the visitor-parking area and the residences.