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Courthouse Expansion Endangers Port O'Call

Courthouse Expansion Endangers Port O'Call

Posted - Mar. 1, 2004 at 7:28 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Community leaders and Sen. Orrin Hatch are lobbying for demolition of the 92-year-old Shubrick Building as part of the Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse expansion project.

A tenant of the Shubrick is the Port O'Call, one of the city's best known night spots.

Hatch cites security concerns for his encouragement of the General Services Administration to purchase the building.

"For the past several months, I have received tremendous feedback from many interested parties in Salt Lake City including the courts, law enforcement agencies, the business community and even some interested in historic preservation who have expressed their desire to see this project redesigned to include the elimination of the Shubrick Building," the Utah Republican said in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Salt Lake Chamber also urged the building be confiscated.

"The new courthouse will need greatly enhanced security buffers and deserves an appropriate setting and level of distinction befitting the importance of the Federal Judiciary, thus necessitating the relocation of the historic Odd Fellow building, renovation of the Moss Courthouse ... and demolition of the Shubrick and other noncontributing buildings on the bloc," the chamber said in a resolution in January.

Shubrick owner Kent Knowley initially did not want his building included in the project, but he did not want to see it walled off either.

"I don't want to get rid of the business, but if they're forcing me into it, I've got to do something," he said.

Knowley's lawsuit against the GSA filed last May seeking fair compensation for his properties was recently thrown out and after years of stop-and-start negotiations, momentum has picked up on the project.

The City Weekly, The Galley restaurant and Diamond Parking have received money for their relocations.

John Saltas, editor of the City Weekly, complained of delays, broken promises and inadequate compensation.

The newspaper moved to its new location in January after paying rent in two locations for four months while waiting for the GSA to condemn its former property and nullify its lease.

Saltas would be sad to see the Port O' Call close. "They took the risk when no one else would. If not for the success of Port O' Call, where would that area be?" he said.

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

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