Oddfellows Hall project remains stagnant as moving deadline comes and goes

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Tuesday was the day construction crews were supposed to finish one of the most ambitious building moves ever, but the Oddfellows Hall project is hung up and still awaiting a final go-ahead, primarily because the two companies involved still haven't sorted out what to do and who's going to do it.

Months ago, the building was lifted 11 feet. It's on wheels, ready to roll, but hasn't gone anywhere.

The federal General Services Administration is paying for an extraordinary maneuver to make way for a new federal courthouse. Oddfellows Hall will wind up across the street, sold to the highest bidder.

"I don't know, their chances of moving look, to me, like pretty slim," spectator Forest McBride said.

The federal contractor, Layton Construction, says it's still a go if they can sort out the next steps with their subcontractor, the moving company Emmert International.

"How it needs to be done, what needs to be done, and then who is going to do it," explained Alan Rindlisbacher, with Layton Construction.

When the building was jacked up, it proved to be more fragile than expected. A consultant came in and determined again that it's safe to move it, but that's not the issue hanging things up.

When the project started a year ago, the two companies had not agreed which company was responsible for the travel route, that is who should make the ground firm, flat and smooth enough to hold the building as it rolls.

"Our subcontractor told us they had a plan to get the building across the street. We're waiting and working to resolve with them the questions they have about moving that building across the street," Rindlisbacher said.

There may be new requirements, such as covering the ground with steel plates. The $6 million price tag seems likely to go up. "I would assume that's the case. There's been no discussions, however, with GSA about contract amounts. It's been about: How do you get the building across the street," Rindlisbacher said.

"I don't think they should. I think it's a waste of money," McBride told us.

The timetable is still unclear, but Layton Construction admits it will be at least several months before it can be completed, if the federal GSA gives the final go-ahead.

E-mail: jhollenhorst@ksl.com

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