Salt Lake City to lose more historic homes amid development frenzy

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The Dinwoodey Mansion at 411 East 100 South appears to be demolished, despite its historic status. Photo by Jacob Barlow.

“These are demolished dwellings that are necessary to build future apartment or condo buildings”, explains the list of goods for 419 East 100 South in the East Central neighborhood of Salt Lake City, a short walk from downtown.

The ad highlights the $ 1 million 419 E 100 S, known as Weir House, but states, “This building will not be sold on its own.” It will only be sold in a ‘pack’ – a $ 20 million portfolio that includes 70 apartments in four ‘downtown’ buildings and the Dinwoodey Mansion next door at 411 E 100 S.

The Dinwoodey Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, is a glorious blend of Queen Anne and Neo-Romanesque styles completed in 1890. It was designed by Utah Capitol architect Richard Kletting.

If a building is listed in the national registry, it is eligible for federal and state incentives for preservation. But it is not immune to demolition. Listing in the local historic register would provide this protection.

Sellers say the only thing they appreciate about historic structures is the two-story stained glass window at Dinwoodey Mansion, which is not for sale.

Dinwoodey Mansion, left, and Weir House, right. Image courtesy of Google Earth.

The owner of the assembly, Sequoia Springs LLC, appears to be a real estate investment fund liquidating some assets. They will only sell to a party that is interested in a $ 20 million portfolio that includes 70 rental units – likely another investment company.

The real estate agent listed as the seller told us ‘this is a private arrangement’ and declined to provide seller or portfolio information unless we are a ‘qualified buyer’.

The parcel and surrounding neighborhood are zoned for mixed use residential R-MU, with a maximum height of 75 ft and no minimum lot area.

Kerfuffle in the neighborhood

Both Utah Preservation and the SLC District Four Residents Facebook pages were alerted to demolition plans, with exasperation being a common theme.

“This is the environment propagated by the city’s flawed housing policies: the demolition of all existing classes of structures in favor of new beige multi-unit construction,” wrote Nicholas Rupp, who initially rang the ‘alarm. “It is an environmental and cultural disaster.

Preservation Utah, the non-profit organization formerly known as the Utah Heritage Foundation, said that “we were shocked (horrified) to read this real estate description which attributes several of the most beautiful buildings to ‘demolish’ status. Historic Salt Lake City “.

East-central conservationist, owner and former planning commissioner Cindy Cromer told Building Salt Lake that “the city is pouring gasoline on the development frenzy.” She asked, “What are we going to get out of this – market-priced housing?” It is not enough.”

Dinwoodey Mansion’s application to the National Register of Historic Places prepared by the State Preservation Officer in 1973 qualifies the building as “one of the finest Victorian-style homes in the state”, stating that it was built by the Carpenter , furniture mogul and polygamist Henry Dinwoodey for his third wife, Sara Kinersley.

The City’s response

The proposed dismantling takes place in a climate of change. The city is working to liberalize its FMR areas – a move that will increase the likelihood that historic buildings like the 411 and 419 E 100 S will be demolished. In many cases, these will be residential units that are more intense, more expensive and of lower quality than the buildings they replace.

411 and 419 East 100 South to SLC, targeted by owners for demolition. Photo by Jacob Barlow.

Does Mayor Erin Mendenhall think buildings like this deserve more protection from the city? Does it intend to seek other incentives and / or rules to prevent the dismantling of historic buildings? We asked the town hall.

Lindsey Nikola, spokesperson for the mayor, noted that the city has incentives in the RMF-30 revision for the reuse of existing buildings, “but not making it a requirement.” She mentioned the city’s preservation plan and pointed to the “administration updating regulations that would remove barriers such as use restrictions and density limitations to promote reuse of historic buildings.”

The fairly low-key response from the mayor’s office concluded, “However, it’s up to a landlord to ask the city to create iconic structures like these.”


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