Suspended some 8 feet off the ground, Odd Fellows Hall has been left in a precarious — and potentially dangerous — spot after a moving crew walked off the job site last month, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
Layton Construction has asked the court to intervene and force an Oregon company back onto the job site to complete the building's move across Market Street.
In arguments filed this week, attorneys for both companies painted contrasting pictures of an ongoing financial fight and the century-old building's safety.
Citing safety concerns, Layton Construction officials want Emmert International, of Clackamas, Ore., to complete the move, despite a contractual dispute.
"The building must be moved eventually," attorneys for the Sandy-based company wrote in a court document. "Only Emmert can complete that move. The risks associated with allowing a 100-year-old, 4-million-pound, unreinforced masonry building to remain off its foundation in a congested section of downtown Salt Lake City increase with every passing day."
Emmert officials, however, claim the building is safe enough to hold off on the move as the companies handle the money fight outside of a courtroom.
"The building is not unstable or dangerous and does not pose a danger to persons or property," Emmert attorneys wrote. "The declarations all state that the building is not a danger and will not be for at least another 12 months."
Layton, in its lawsuit, claims it shouldered the "significant cost" of designing a haul path for the building and is owed money from Emmert.
Emmert, however, walked off the job site last month, claiming it is owed money. In court documents, Emmert officials said the company is owed more than $2 million and has had to wait as long as six months to receive payments.
"Emmert cannot afford any longer to act as (Layton's) and the (U.S. General Services Administration's) bank," court documents state.
The GSA owns Odd Fellows Hall and contracted its move to make way for a new federal courthouse downtown. After a June 8 deadline passed, the GSA and Layton negotiated a contract extension that set a July 3 deadline.
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