Demolition denied – Emporium building survives, for now

Historic Preservation Committee meets December 16, 2019 to discuss proposed demolition of Emporium Block

LOGAN – The Logan Historic Preservation Committee voted down a request by city leaders to demolish the Emporium Monday afternoon, creating uncertainty over the city’s next move on a proposed redevelopment project.

Members of the committee struggled with the decision. After two public hearings and setting aside their personal views on the project, four of the five members said the city didn’t meet the established HPC standards for demolition.

“It’s a tough choice,” said committee member Keith Mott. “I like the idea, but our mandate is not to knock down historic buildings. You have to have a really good thing to put back in there…I’d like to see if those buildings could be preserved.

There were two proposals on the table for the site – one consisted of demolishing the Emporium and four adjacent buildings to make room for a public plaza, stage, apartment building and parking structure. That plan was presented with mixed reviews to the public in September. An alternative plan, unveiled Friday, called for just the public plaza and gathering area in place of the Emporium.

Neither plan was acceptable to several downtown business owners, including George Daines, CEO of Cache Valley Bank. In fact, Daines was so opposed to the idea of demolishing the Emporium Block, he offered to purchase the buildings from the city during the meeting.

“That offer is renewed today,” said Daines, who is the brother-in-law of Logan Mayor Holly Daines. “We are willing to buy the building, knowing better than most what the problems of the buildings are. I’m willing…to take these buildings and restore them.”

It is unlikely Mayor Daines will take her brother-in-law up on the offer. She said she is committed to working with the developer and city leaders to re-work and finalize a proposal that will be acceptable to the HPC.

Mayor Daines was clearly disappointed with the decision, but admitted this is an ongoing process and she is not about to give up.

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