One way or another, the remains of Irving Junior High won't continue to bother Sugar House residents much longer.

Owners of the old schoolhouse, a historic landmark that has been a regular target for arsonists and vandals in recent years, say they are ready to demolish it unless Salt Lake City's Redevelopment Agency can find someone willing to buy and restore it."We've concluded it's just not financially viable to restore," David Evans, a manager of Legacy Management, the company that owns the building on the corner of 1200 East and 2100 South. He said firefighters put their lives at risk whenever the building burns, and youths keeps breaking through security fences. "For the safety of the neighborhood, it's best to demolish the building."

Evans said his company will donate more than half the building to the Redevelopment Agency. The agency will buy the rest and will try to find someone willing to buy the school at a reduced price. In the meantime, Legacy Management has asked the city's Historical Landmark Committee for a demolition permit. The committee, which is involved because Irving is a historical building, is scheduled to hear the matter Jan. 5.

If the Redevelopment Agency doesn't find a buyer within 60 days, a wrecking ball will level the building and the agency will landscape what's left.

But the leader of the Sugar House Community Council, a board that advises the city on neighborhood issues, said Wednesday he believes a buyer will be found.

Roger Miller, chairman of the council, said the board has several buyers lined up, ready to deal with the Redevelopment Agency.

"We don't want it (the building) to be torn down," Miller said. "We think that would be an awful tragedy."

Redevelopment officials acknowledge the time finally has come to decide the fate of the building.

"Either someone has to buy and fix it now, or it has to come down," said Dick Turpin, an agency official.

Miller said the potential buyers would use the outside walls, which still are standing, and would build condominiums and apartments inside.

"In a way, the fires have been a blessing in disguise," he said. "They just cleaned the place out."

But Evans said the fires may have weakened the mortar that holds the walls together. Regardless, his company has agreed to remove asbestos from the remains of the building before giving it to the Redevelopment Agency. And his company also is prepared to accept the losses that come with what turned out to be a bad investment in the late 1970s.

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"If it hadn't burned down, I really think something could've been made of it," he said. The company had not insured the building against fire.

The company originally wanted to use the school as a performing-arts center, with the city's help. But the city rejected that plan. Evans said the company did all it could to find ways to restore the building.

"We tried to procure other commercial tenants to restore it, but we couldn't find anyone of any financial substance. We've worked for years and years and had no success at all. We've lost a ton of money on it. If there really is someone who can restore it, now's the time for them to put up their money.

"It's just not responsible for us to allow the building to continue to stand there."

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