Yes unfortunately, Salt Lake City has had a checkered past with throwing away what we should have saved. This is true with pretty much every major metro in the country from New York to even San Francisco, and many metro CBD's have a much more destructive history than Salt Lake. There are hundred's of lost treasures from New York's past, such as the Penn Station or the Waldorf Astoria which defy reason for their demise. It would be akin to SLC's destruction of City Hall or the Temple Square Tabernacle. Even San Francisco is filled to the brim with non-descript University Club style towers, that replaced beautiful, ornate mansions and midrises. Fortunately, Salt Lake is hitting it's stride as one of the most dynamic national growth citys of this century, at a time when sentiments for historical preservation are strong and healthy.
IMO, the new CCC is a huge improvement over it's 70's version. If today's planners and contributing citizens had planned the original Crossroads/ZCMI Center, we wouldn't have lost Richards, Regent and many of the lovely fronts of Main in the first place.
That prevailing mentality of the majority rule, that destroyed and covered up beautiful craftsmanship, was unique and indicative of a generation that had experienced two Apocalyptic World Wars, a pandemic that killed millions, and a great depression that still defies description, even compared to today's great recession. As I have, I'm sure that all of you have seen certain members of your own generational family, that shunned an Avenue's Victorian as simply 'old looking'. I remember my own relatives, who were horrified when my buddies and I moved in to the coolest (well maintained) old house south of the BYU campus. The house was in excellent condition and had many charming details. However, you would have thought that I had moved into a ghetto flat by the reaction of some of my relatives. They couldn't understand why I liked this 'OLD' house vs. a newer non-descript 70's rambler. Much of that generation has now passed. Today, there is a healthier climate for history, charm, and craftsmanship. It isn't perfect, and many developers still don't understand what rim and color should be placed on their particular auto(so to speak). Hey, there will alway's be developers whose talent is better at book keeping than designing the next classic Rolls Royce or Jag. However, the climate is markedly improved.
So first, don't even try to discuss with me, and I mean this in a disarmingly friendly way, the glowing attributes of the Bennion Building. IMO, as with many to most of the local forumers, we have discussed that building ad nauseum. It has been historically destroyed, aesthetically compromised to a mediocre presentation, and it is a tremendous waste of valuable space.
However, most of us agree, that if we can save the Prudential, then let's save it. So, instead of focusing so much energy lamenting the current location of the UPAC/Tower Project, put that energy on improving the design of the UPAC, which would be the inclusion of the Prudential. Why can't these internationally acclaimed and awarded firms, which will be designing this project, come up with solutions? Have any of you who are objecting the loudest, and I respect those objections regarding the Prudential, had detailed discussions with those in the know? Have any of you discussed this at length with the Mayor or Pelli or HKR, etc? On the surface, I see the unique, vast and significant space of the Prudential as a plus for an iconic theater entry. Certainly, the creative, award winning Pelli can come up with a marvelous solution for incorporation of Prudential's strong points as a stunning foyer-plus. Perhaps though, there are unavoidable reasons other than financial greed driving it's demise. I would like to hear from someone with access to these people give me the facts, other than emotional reasons. We all know that the Deseret/First Security Tower was slated for demolition. It took community outrage, and a generous donor to save it. The Trib. received much of that same type of backlash. The Prudential doesn't seem to be generating that same type of involvement. Anyway, what are the bottom-line reasons for wanting to replace the Prudential? Also, what are the solutions, including extra financial contribution from someone such as a Huntsman, Marriott or Eccles to save it?
We are being told by responsible people, who have a good track record, that the UPAC will be an iconic jewel on Main. In other words, they're saying that they are going to sacrifice the Prudential for something far more grand and iconic. Okay now, we're not talking about the destruction of 19th century Victorians and Italianate mid rises, in order to put up something that is a horrible fortress, like the exterior of the former Crossroads. I think Pelli/HKR is seriously going to create something spectacular. So again, some of you quit wasting what could be valuable time lamenting the location, and focus on the facts and means of incorporating the Prudential into the future massing of UPAC. Let's find out the facts of why it is either possible or impossible.
Regarding the small facade of the old Bank Building and it's coffered ceiling, the probabilities are pretty limited. It looks as if the ceiling must be disassembled. This would be entirely plausible, but of course, at an extra expense. So who is going to pony up with the extra monies? Again, we need another generous Eccles-style donor. Then again, maybe we could get away with simply diassembling the facade only and placing it elsewhere, and then incorporting the ceiling into a beautiful and needed public space, associated with the theater's commercial aspects.
Anyway, the whole point is as has been stated countless times before. The probability of the status quo as the future UPAC site is pretty much decided. The odds of saving and incorporating the interiors of the Prudential and the Bank are far greater than moving the entire project across the street. So let's focus our fact gathering and time and energy on that.