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Hotel Roberts Razed

Hotel Roberts Razed

Posted - Nov. 9, 2004 at 7:39 a.m.



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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- The 130-year-old Hotel Roberts, which had been used in recent years as temporary housing for the homeless, was razed over the weekend.

Gwen Vance of Community Action worked with the owners over the last several years on the housing of the homeless, but was not told the building would be taken down.

The Hotel Roberts has been on the city historical landmark register for many years, but nothing could save the building, said Charles Hugo, the city's chief building official.

Hugo said he had been fighting for the life of the Hotel Roberts for 20 years, "But it has always been a problem. It is an old building trying to fall apart. It just does not meet what we are trying to do today, which is to make a safe, quality building."

Anthony Molloy, a planner in Provo Community Development, said the ordinance that allows for a landmark register also allows the landmarks to be torn down if they are deemed unsafe and money is not found to restore them. So Molloy sent an e-mail to the commission members to give them the bad news.

"The commission didn't have a lot to say about it because we never met to discuss it," he said. "If somebody wants to just tear down a distinguished landmark, there is a lengthy process. But some buildings just become so deteriorated that there are no other options for them."

At the request of the owners, Hugo took a walk through the building in early September and condemned it and on Nov. 1 issued a demolition permit.

The Hotel Roberts was built as a home for the Pulsipher family in 1882. After her husband died, Esther Pulsipher started renting rooms to make ends meet.

William Roberts bought the building around 1895, remodeled it and gave the building his family name. The building went through a series of renovations over the years, and long was the hotel of choice for important people visiting the city.

The owners closed the hotel in 2003. For a year there was a sign in front of the door that asked for donors to help finance a renovation, but the money was never offered.

"They had no other options," Hugo said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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