Mayor George Stewart signed an agreement Monday allowing the city to tear down and sell Academy Square, but the historical building will not change much in appearance.
The agreement, which must still be ratified by the City Council, calls for the property to be sold to Georgetown Development for $765,000 plus demolition costs."From what I understand, the city will not lose any money on the deal," said Ted Dowling, administrative assistant of the council.
The agreement says the building will be torn down and the bricks will be maintained and stacked. With the same bricks, a combination office and condominium complex will be built with the same facade as the current structure.
Also, the beehive monument in front of the buildings will be restored. The condominiums will be luxury housing not designed for students.
Before the sale is final and demolition can begin, however, the city must first clear a hurdle with an historical easement on the property. Stewart believes the plan to rebuild some of the buildings will satisfy concerns of the Utah Historic Preservation Society. If not, the city will go to court and try to get the easement released using the abatement-of-dangerous-buildings provision in the building code.
If the easement is removed and the buildings are torn down, the final sales agreement will go before the council for approval.
"The mayor does not need the council's approval to tear the buildings down, but he does need its approval for the final sale," Dowling said.
If the sale is approved, the construction plans must be approved by the Planning Commission and then the council.
The city purchased Academy Square at a foreclosure sale in March for $715,000 in housing funds from Collier Heinz and Associates and Academy Square Land Associates, who foreclosed on a trust deed executed by the Community Service Foundation of Utah Valley. Earlier the city paid $50,000 in earnest money on the property. The city purchased the property because of safety and health concerns.
The mayor sent out letters seeking offers from developers to purchase the property. Stewart said the offer from Georgetown was the only serious offer that called for restoration of the main building's facade.
City workers hope to begin tearing down the buildings in the next few weeks.