Designing a suitable replacement for the 100-year-old Brigham Young Academy building is no small feat, let alone a popular one - just ask Hal Magleby and John Dester.
Their task as owners of Georgetown Development was to design a building that would combine the strong emotion of some Provo residents to save a building they love with their own desire to build a classy, upscale structure that could provide retail, office and residential space.They set out to essentially combine two worlds into one.
What they finally came up with is a building reminiscent of the 100-year-old Education Building that would provide various shops, massive quantities of office space and upscale condominiums and town houses.
More important, the building would preserve the general look and feel of the original Brigham Young Academy lower campus in its more youthful days.
Hence the name "Two Worlds at Academy Square," a structure Magleby and Dester say will provide "classic, timeless architecture blend with existing older residences on University Avenue."
The new building would combine 14,000 square feet of retail space with 31,000 square feet of office space, as well as 22 upscale town houses and 16 penthouse condominiums.
But the most important part of constructing the new buildings will be to preserve the old academy's atmosphere, Dester said.
The plans include a park featuring the fountain now located in front of the buildings. Brick from the original building would be used in the hallways and outside parts of the new building to provide the nostalgic feel of brighter days at what was once Brigham Young Uni-versity's lower campus.
Benches inside the structure would be taken directly from those remaining in the College Hall theater. Dester plans for a bell to toll every hour, reminding patrons of the building's educational roots.
Perhaps the most striking feature to be included in the new structure will be a museum dedicated entirely to the history of Academy Square.
"We are planning to take some of the space on the main floor to establish a museum to pay tribute to the building and the many alumni who attended there, like George Albert Smith, James Tal-mage and others," Dester said.
Dester and Magleby also envision a delicatessen with outside tables, a children's bookstore, floral shop, jewelry store and other service-oriented shops.
Provo Mayor George Stewart felt theirs was the only "viable" diagram presented for the academy block. It's one Dester and Magleby traveled thousands of miles to devise.
They started by traveling to San Francisco to examine Ghirardelli Square and the cannery, then crossed the nation to Washington, D.C.'s, Georgetown community to study the Watergate apartment complex and other surrounding examples of mixed-use architecture. They finally came back to California's old Pasedena, an inner-city neighborhood renovated to provide mixed-use buildings.
"Seeing several examples of buildings that had been rebuilt like we saw gave us a very good background to come up with a classy plan for Academy Square," he said.
Georgetown Development is known for buildings such as Cottontree Square, Parkplace, Village Green, Southgate Village and Concord Park.