Crews start to shore up Claim Jumper |

Crews start to shore up Claim Jumper

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

City Hall on Wednesday issued a permit for some work inside the Claim Jumper building, an indication that the historic property’s ownership will undertake at least some upgrades as the building’s future is contemplated.

The Park City Building Department granted the permit to a contractor known as Topmark Industries Inc. The permit allows demolition work on the interior of the building. It prohibits structural work. The permit was granted on the same day the application was submitted.

According to the permit, the fire-sprinkler system must be put into working condition. That will require the use of antifreeze, the permit said. Topmark Industries values the work at $15,000.

"It’s a good thing to have the building moving forward, back to safety," Mark Pappas, the Topmark Industries owner, said in an interview.

Pappas said the work started Wednesday afternoon. Pappas directed further questions to MidFirst Bank, which has been a key player in the building as the Claim Jumper was sold at auction in a trustee’s sale on Tuesday.

The Building Department said the permit allows the crews to troubleshoot problems with the fire-sprinkler system and correct them if they are discovered. The department said it expects to receive an application soon to install a new fire-sprinkler system in the building.

Kurt Simister, a Building Department official involved in the discussions about the Claim Jumper work, said a meeting was scheduled with someone representing the building on Thursday. He called the work outlined in the permit "routine" for an owner attempting to upgrade a building.

"That’s encouraging. We’ve got somebody who wants to do something with it," Simister said.

The abandoned Claim Jumper, 573 Main St., is one of Main Street’s most prominent buildings. It fell into disrepair in recent years as the owner scrapped plans to renovate the building into an upscale lodge. The inside of the building has been gutted.

There are longstanding concerns about the possibilities of fires in vacant buildings like the Claim Jumper. The timing of the permit for the work one day after the auction signals there is some interest in shoring up the building.

A business entity known as CSA 10-573 Main LLC won the Claim Jumper with a bid of $5 million in the trustee’s sale on Tuesday. The firm entered the only bid for the building. The bid followed shortly after MidFirst Bank, the lender, assigned the business entity its beneficial interest in the trust deed on the Claim Jumper. MidFirst Bank and the business entity share the same Oklahoma City address, according to Utah Department of Commerce records. MidFirst Bank is named as the manager of the business entity in the Department of Commerce listing.

As of November 2008, the Arizona firm that had the Claim Jumper owed MidFirst Bank nearly $6.9 million, according to a default notice filed at the County Courthouse.

The Arizona firm, under the umbrella of Germaine Partners, held ambitious plans for Main Street anchored by what was seen as an ambitious renovation of the Claim Jumper. Most of those plans have been scrapped.

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