Park City allows teardown of decrepit Star Hotel on Main Street
December 22, 2018
The owner of a decrepit old hotel on Main Street plans to demolish the building in early January, a rare teardown on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip but one that the owner and City Hall officials have determined is necessary to guard against a collapse.
The Star Hotel is located at 227 Main St., toward the southern end of the street. There is a board covering one of the main windows, the front of the building is partially discolored and the inside has been found to be in terrible condition. It is unusual in the last 20 years for a building along Main Street to deteriorate to the degree the Star Hotel has.
There have been several owners in recent years. The current one is a firm called Hofmann Properties, LC. The Summit County Assessor's Office values the building and land at just more than $1.3 million.
A City Hall official said the building is dangerous. Bruce Erickson, the planning director, said there is a risk of the roof collapsing into the building during a bad snowstorm or if lots of ice builds up. The Park City Building Department more than two years ago determined the Star Hotel was dangerous and issued an order for the owner to abate the problems.
"A good wind and snowstorm will make a mess of that place," Erickson said.
The planned teardown will follow lengthy discussions about the building at City Hall. The municipal government's Old Town panel, the Historic Preservation Board, in 2016 voted to maintain the Star Hotel's designation as a significant building as part of an inventory of historic sites kept by the municipal government. Buildings that are designated significant cannot be torn down under most circumstances. Another City Hall panel, the Board of Adjustment, in early 2017 supported the designation as well.
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Park City officials, though, eventually agreed to allow the demolition based on the dilapidated condition and danger to the public.
Brian Brassey, the general contractor, said the work necessary prior to the teardown has started. He said a crew has removed and disposed of asbestos that was inside. The teardown is anticipated to start just after New Year's and be completed prior to the opening of the Sundance Film Festival, he said. If the crews cannot meet that timeline, the work will be delayed until after the festival, he said.
"We want to get it down before something negative happens," he said.
Brassey said the demolition will involve tearing down the building toward the center and then hauling away the rubble. Some of the historic pieces of the building, such as the chimney, will be salvaged and incorporated into a new project at the location, he said.
The owner plans to start to rebuild on the parcel as early as the spring. Brassey said a dining service of some sort is planned on the main floor of a new building. Options remain under consideration for the upstairs, he said.
The Planning Department said a new project will include the historic wall on the west side of the Star Hotel, the stairway on the south side of the building will be incorporated and Spanish revival-style arched windows like the ones on the current building will be included. The historic foundation on the Main Street side of the building will also be retained. A small addition is planned on the west side.
The executive director of the Park City Historical Society and Museum acknowledged the deteriorated condition of the Star Hotel. Sandra Morrison, a key figure in Park City preservation issues, noted the danger of a collapse and said the new building will resemble the historic one. She said a building "that's about to fall down" cannot be kept standing.
"It's not the first replica in town," she said.
She said if a new building would have been designed with modern architecture it could have been jarring.
"The fact that the city is requiring a replica . . . means that we're maintaining the flow and rhythm" of Main Street, Morrison said.