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New housing ready for residents of Regis Hotel

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Mar. 5, 2010 at 3:49 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Residents of Salt Lake City's Regis Hotel at 253 S. State Street have until the end of next week to move out. But city managers say they will not leave them in the cold.

Friday, Salt Lake City announced the Rio Grande Hotel is ready for residents of the Regis Hotel and others to move in on Monday.

City officials say he Regis Hotel, which has housed residents of low incomes for years, has become too dilapidated and is too expensive to maintain. A newly-renovated hotel, called the HomeInn, is now ready for those residents to move in.

Carlton Christensen, vice chair of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency, said, "We have taken a complex which was tired and challenged and we have cleaned it up and improved it, and really creating an opportunity for those individuals for a better living environment."

The new complex, located at the old Rio Grand Hotel at 428 W. Broadway in Salt Lake City, has more facilities such a full kitchen area, free laundry facilities, internet access and a library.

And the housing will be cheaper than what residents are paying at the Regis Hotel.

Many residents, however, are resistant to the move: 22 are upset the city is forcing them to move out of the Regis. But officials say there is just no other option.

The city says it has done everything it can to work with the Regis residents and provide them an option for another place to live.

"There has been a lot of criticism of us as we made the transition that somehow we are heartless and not thinking, but really the opposite is true," Christensen said. "We are creating a better living environment for the residents."

Places like the HomeInn are important to the community, because residents of these complexes really have no other option.

"Without a unit or a place like this, fundamentally these people would be homeless with no other place to live," Christensen said.

Residents will be able to move into the new complex starting Monday and will have until the end of next week to vacate the Regis Hotel. And the city says it will continue to try to work with the current residents of the Regis.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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