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BELVEDERE REMAINS THE `BELLE’ OF URBAN LIVING ENVIRONMENTS

SHARE BELVEDERE REMAINS THE `BELLE’ OF URBAN LIVING ENVIRONMENTS

Residents simply call it "the Belle."

And the Belvedere, 29 S. State St., celebrated its 70th birthday as the "Grand Dame of Utah Condominiums" this past weekend.The 171-room building was constructed in 1919 and retains much of its original splendor and historical significance.

"You get a certain amount of pride and security living here," said Alvin G. Pack, a resident of the nine-floor structure.

"The building is built to last a millennium . . . but the pride of being in a place with a history to it is very meaningful, too," he said.

The Belvedere was originally built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a means of housing visitors to the church's nearby facilities.

In the early days the building catered to an upscale clientele, featuring maid and laundry services, a ballroom, billiards room, an in-house barber shop and other amenities, said resident Catherine Dee.

"It's a unique building. When it was built it was the last word, and the church spared nothing," Dee said.

Terra-cotta tiles adorn the spacious street level, balconies bedeck some floors, and the building's foyer is set off by polished mirrors and glass and ubiquitous, comfortable, overstuffed furniture.

"When it was built, it was really built, no monkey business," said Pack, referring to the Belvedere's sound construction, double windows, granite foundation and fired-brick walls.

The Belvedere has been enjoyed by several generations.

"My memories of the Belvedere go back to the year 1919 and 1920," wrote Anne W. Wallace, a 42-year tenant of the Belvedere, in an oral history of the building compiled by Dee.

"As a sorority girl from the University campus, I danced many a night away in the Belvedere ballroom," Wallace wrote.

Now, the college crowd still fills vacancies at the Belvedere, according to Dee. Tenants range from young students and missionaries to concert pianists and downtown businessmen.

In the 1920s, those who lived in the Belvedere had to reach deep into their pockets for $70 to pay for renting one of the facility's seven-room apartment units.

If anything, the clientele has become more professional.

The building went "condo" in 1978 and most of the units are either rented by owners or owner-occupied. Many residents use their apartments only when they are in Salt Lake City on business.

Upon its completion in 1919, the building served as an apartment-hotel, serving temporary tenants.

In 1958, the building was traded for land by the LDS Church to a private developer and remained an apartment-hotel until it changed to a condominium complex in 1978.