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SALT LAKE CITY — Demolition of the shuttered downtown Road Home shelter began Monday, officials confirmed.
After the property has been cleared and deemed safe, which will take one to two weeks, it will be placed on the market, said Marilee Richins, deputy executive director with the Utah Department of Administrative Services.
The state will list the property located at 210 S. Rio Grande for $4.4 million, she said, adding that it is not known yet who might buy the property.
Utah purchased the property from Shelter the Homeless in late 2018 for $4 million.
At the time, state leaders discussed the possibility of demolishing the building and replacing it with a storage and gallery space for the Utah Department of Heritage and Art’s artifact collection.
Seeing workers begin tearing down the building Monday afternoon, one homeless advocate expressed hope the property would continue to be used to help struggling community members.
“Looks like 210 south Rio Grande is about to be torn down the first week of the legislative session. The only accepted reuse of this property would be affordable housing and permanent supportive housing. We would welcome them with open arms as our new neighbors,” tweeted Matthew Melville, homeless services director for Catholic Community Services.
Melville shared photos and video of a backhoe breaking into the building’s red brick.
Looks like 210 south Rio Grande is about to be torn down the first week of the legislative session. The only accepted reuse of this property would be affordable housing and permanent supportive housing. We would welcome them with open arms as our new neighbors. #utpol#utlegpic.twitter.com/q1Jqq7bzbd— Matthew Melville (@mateomelville) January 27, 2020
The Rio Grande neighborhood surrounding the downtown shelter was known for years as a haven for crime, up until the summer of 2017 when state leaders launched Operation Rio Grande.
The operation aimed to root out criminal activity and help clear the way for the effort to transform Salt Lake County’s homeless system with the opening of three new, smaller resource centers in separate locations.
The downtown 1,100 bed shelter closed in November as clients moved into the 300-bed South Salt Lake men’s resource center, the 200-bed mixed gender Gail Miller Resource Center, and the 200-bed Geraldine E. King Resource Center.
Outcry at having fewer available beds led to the opening of a temporary shelter in a vacant building in the Sugar House neighborhood.