Hotel residents plead with city to let them stay at Regis


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Residents of a downtown Salt Lake City hotel must clear out in two weeks. Wednesday, they made one last plea to the city to let them stay at the Regis Hotel.

The city plans to remodel or bulldoze the Regis Hotel in the 200 block of State Street, calling the building unsanitary and unsafe. City officials say they have given residents viable options and more than a year to move.

The State Street hotel is in bad shape. Remaining residents admit that, but see the Regis as their only affordable option.

Randy Kozak has lived at the Regis for a couple of years. He joined other residents and homeless advocates at a press conference on the steps of City Hall Wednesday.

"Once they close this place down," he said, "I'm going to be living under a bridge or something, when it's cold."

In a letter to the Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency, the residents call their situation "life and death" if they are forced to leave March 9.

"They're selfish in closing it while it's cold. They couldn't possibly even give us until June 1st? I think that's ridiculous," said resident David Hartley.

The city started to help residents relocate a year ago, and has already pushed back deadlines from last summer. The mayor's spokeswoman says the city has worked hard to help the residents find even better homes in new facilities.

"We have been very straightforward in the dates and very flexible. We haven't turned one person away who was concerned," Lisa Harrison-Smith says. "Many have their own personal reasons for not wanting to choose those options that have been made available to them, but we wanted to make sure they had an option made available."

The redevelopment agency will remodel the Regis for business and low-income housing, but the city does not yet have a development contract.

"We think the hotel can stay open at least another year, if not indefinitely," said Tim Funk, with the Crossroads Urban Center.

About two dozen residents remain at the Regis. Despite their plea Wednesday, the city said it will stick with that March 9 deadline and continue to help residents willing to move.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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Jed Boal

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