Claim Jumper’s roof comes off as major work starts at historic property | ParkRecord.com

Claim Jumper’s roof comes off as major work starts at historic property

Jay Hamburger The Park Record

Someone looking up through the windows of the Claim Jumper building on Main Street is able to see the sky. And it’s not because skylights were installed.

A construction crew has started major work at the historic building, and removing the roof of the Claim Jumper was among the first tasks. The Claim Jumper, one of Main Street’s most prominent buildings, has been largely vacant for years. The work is meant to shore up the Claim Jumper rather than redevelop the building.

The Park City Building Department in December issued a permit for the work to a Park City-based contractor, Top Mark Industries, Inc. The Building Department values the work at a little more than $2.6 million. The Claim Jumper is owned by a limited liability company with locations in Oklahoma City and Tempe, Ariz., called 573 Main Street LLC.

Roger Evans, a Building Department official, said the permit allows a structural upgrade. The roof will be strengthened when it is rebuilt and each floor will be upgraded, Evans said. He said the building will also be reinforced to better protect it should an earthquake strike.

Evans said the permit from the Building Department also allows the crews to redo the bathrooms throughout the building and allows them to install an elevator.

Evans said he anticipates the roof will be rebuilt within the next 30 days. He said the roof must be redone quickly to protect the building from the weather.

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The permit, though, does not address what is expected to be a significant redo of the building someday, perhaps with residential square footage on the upper floors and commercial space at the street level.

"It’s critically important. It’s the bones of the building they’re strengthening. They’re strengthening the existing building," Evans said.

The workers in the last week built a wooden walkway on the Main Street sidewalk to protect passers-by.

The Claim Jumper building is a century old and is seen as one of Park City’s most prized historic properties. A hotel opened at the site in 1913, the year after a fire destroyed a building at the site the year before. The hotel closed in 1952 and another one opened later. The upper floors of the building were converted into office space in 1992. A restaurant was located in the building during its latter years of use. There has been little activity in the building since beyond a hotspot only open during the Sundance Film Festival.

An Arizona developer eventually acquired the building as the centerpiece of its Main Street portfolio, put together in the years prior to the recession. The developer planned an extensive renovation and took initial steps toward the work in the fall of 2007. A wooden walkway like the one built in the last week appeared at that time, but the renovation was scrapped as the economy started faltering. The developer lost the building and other Main Street properties during the recession.

The owner of contractor Top Mark Industries, Inc., Mark Pappas, said the work is expected to take six months. Pappas said the Claim Jumper will be "a lot newer and stronger on the inside" once the work is completed. The owner at that point will make decisions about the building’s future, Pappas said.

"We have to be very, very careful because the building is already old and a little frail in areas," Pappas said.

The Park City Planning Department, meanwhile, has received paperwork requesting lots on the underlying land be combined into one. That would allow the owner to press ahead with an idea to build an addition on the rear of the building, the Planning Department said.