Historic home stands in the way of ‘City View’ downtown redevelopment project

A rendering of the mixed-use "City View" development proposed for downtown St. George at Main Street and St. George Boulevard | Image courtesy of PEG Development, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A redevelopment project proposed for downtown St. George is moving ahead thanks to the unanimous approval of a collection of measures by the City Council last week.

The redevelopment project, called “City View,” is slated to bring a mix of commercial and residential space to the heart of the downtown area and could break ground later this year.

Before the project can proceed, however, City View developers need permission to demolish a historic structure known as the George W. Worthen Home located at 32 West Tabernacle.

The City Council approved the demolition of the building, but only after the developer works with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission to see if anyone is interested in moving the building – provided it can be moved at all.

City View, a $30 million project, is located on the block between Main Street, St. George Boulevard, 100 West Street and Tabernacle Street and will consist of three separate buildings standing three to four-stories tall.

A rendering of the proposed "Snow House" hotel as it would be seen from Main Street. It is part of an overall mixed-use development proposed for downtown St. George at Main Street and St. George Boulevard | Image courtesy of Peg Development, St. George News
A rendering of the proposed “Snow House” hotel as it would be seen from Main Street. It is part of an overall mixed-use development proposed for downtown St. George at Main Street and St. George Boulevard called “City View.” | Image courtesy of Peg Development, St. George News

A four-story, 60-room boutique hotel is slated to go on the corner of Main Street and St. George Boulevard. Sitting on the west side of the hotel will be a four-story, mixed-use building with commercial space on the bottom and residential apartments on the top floor.

A third building, another mixed-use complex that will stand at three-stories, will face Tabernacle Street.

Altogether, City View will offer 110 residential units and 100,000-square-feet of commercial space. Set between the buildings will be a public park area that will also tie into the Green Gate Village. Parking for the development will be underground.

The architecture for the buildings will match the historic look of the area. The 60-room boutique hotel will also be called the “Snow House,” in reference to the home of Erastus Snow, a prominent figure and leader in the community in the 1800s.

The project will add to the city’s ongoing efforts to keep the downtown center alive, well and attractive to residents and newcomers alike.

A highlighted map of the mixed-use "City View" development proposed for downtown St. George at Main Street and St. George Boulevard | Image courtesy of Peg Development, St. George News
A highlighted map of the mixed-use “City View” development proposed for downtown St. George at Main Street and St. George Boulevard | Image courtesy of Peg Development, St. George News

“This has only been about 30 years worth of planning on the city’s part,” City Manager Gary Esplin said. Esplin has long been a proponent of the revitalization of the downtown area.

Projects involved in rejuvenating the downtown area in recent years have included the creation of the Town Square and the Electric Theater Center. Events are held in the downtown area on a regular basis as well, like the monthly George Street Fest, and work also continues to make the area a thriving arts district.

While adding additional retail space – something the downtown needs more of, Esplin said – City View will also provide additional residential housing which is currently in short supply. Vacancy for apartments and similar units is currently less than 1 percent in St. George.

The proposed City View development also falls within the city’s Central Business District Community Development Area, or CDA. This grants the project and others within the zone tax incentives.

Qualifying projects within the CDA have property taxes frozen in their first year for a period of 15 years. Monies from subsequent tax increases during that time will in turn be applied to projects inside the CDA that make various infrastructure improvements to the area.


Read more: City approves tax incentives for new development downtown


Historic home

While the project could break ground in November or December, City View developers need permission to demolish the George W. Worthen Home.

Located at 32 West Tabernacle, the home was originally built and owned by Orson Pratt, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometime after 1862, according to the Washington County Historical Society.

The George W. Worthen Home at 32 W. Tabernacle. Built sometime after 2862 by Orson Pratt, the home passed their many owner until eventually sitting apparetnly empty and unused. The St. George City Council apporved the demolition of the building to make way for the City View redevelopment project should no one be location who is interested in moving the building to a new location, St. George, Sept. 26, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The George W. Worthen Home at 32 W. Tabernacle. Built sometime after 1862 by Orson Pratt, the home passed through many owners. It now sits apparently empty and unused. The St. George City Council approved the demolition of the building to make way for the City View redevelopment project should no one be found who is interested in relocating the structure, St. George, Sept. 26, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The home was eventually sold to Joseph Bentley, who married Maggie Ivins. The home was then bought by George W. Worthen when the Bentleys and the Ivins moved to Mexico. The property and home was later bought by Melvin T. Bowler.

Today the home appears largely empty, unused and not in the best of shape.

The city’s Historic Preservation Commission discussed the building’s designation as a historic landmark and concluded it was due more to the age of the structure rather than overall significance.

The possibility of having the building relocated was also discussed. Whether that can be accomplished without the building falling apart is another question.

The city should preserve historic buildings as much as possible, Councilwoman Bette Arial said, yet added this particular structure shouldn’t stand in the way of the City View project.

“This one is standing in the way of a really wonderful development that’s going to transform our downtown,” Arial said.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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5 Comments

  • debbie September 26, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    i’m not from this area, so i would like to know who george worthen was. also, i believe preserving the past is integeral in having a better future. It is nice to have older homes to visit and learn from theeir history. the building should reflect the genre and be a small museum. why has it been placed as a home to be preserved and then Poof first reason to get rid of it… we get rid of it. the new city scape can be built around it. I don’t take it lightly when homes are put on a preservations list.. demolitioning it is saying, “we do things around here we really don’t mean”… you either preserve and protect it.. or get rid of the preservations committee. i have no doubt money was raised and human energy spent saving this structure. only for the next generation to come along and kick it down. No Way Jose. i’ve seen so many “scapes” go up across this nation and so many sit empty, with paper waded up rolling around past them.. they end up renting the spaces to giant telemarketing companies.. when that company gets raided, a flea market rents it out. next thing you know 25 years later.. the historical building has been demolished and the fancy “scapes” building is nothing more than a hasbeen center. keep your word st. george.

  • wilbur September 26, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Good Old Boys here don’t give a hoot about old stuff, ‘less it has LDS written large on it, and there’s a profit to be made.

  • .... September 27, 2016 at 6:35 am

    I’m going to the market to get some tarter sauce. my goldfish died.

  • anybody home September 27, 2016 at 10:41 am

    It will take more than a fancy new development to save St. George’s downtown. It’s going to take a major attitude adjustment which doesn’t seem likely – an adjustment that breaks down the Mormon cabal and allows non-LDS members to thrive with new businesses, too.

    • .... September 27, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      Oh oh Mormon folks you’re all gonna be in a heap of trouble now. Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry has accused all of you of being bigots.
      so be prepared to be taken to the principles office. courtesy of Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry. .I’m not going to say anything about Bob because I will get sent to detention. courtesy of Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry

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