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Deseret Book makes plans to relocate

Deseret Book took the lead-off spot Thursday on the roster of downtown mall retailers announcing their plans for the impending redevelopment.

The company's flagship retail store will stay at its current ZCMI Center location through the holidays and then will move to the street level of adjacent office buildings in the spring of 2007, according to Deseret Book Executive Vice President Jeff Simpson. Simpson did not state a precise destination.

"It'll be within a stone's throw of where we are right now, maybe somewhere in the area of where the (ZCMI Center) food court is right now," Simpson said. "We're thinking it'll be right in that area, but then again it might be a little to the east of that, or a little to the west, we don't know. But we do know that it will be in very close proximity to (the store's) current location."

Scott Trotter, LDS Church spokesman, said Thursday that "the retail store is projected to temporarily move to an East South Temple location near the current Beneficial Life building.

"The store's permanent location has not been announced," Trotter said.

"Other food and retail outlets will also relocate to this area as leases are negotiated."

No other information was disclosed.

Meanwhile, Deseret Book said its corporate offices will move in mid-2007 to the seven upper floors at 57 W. South Temple, above Utah Woolen Mills Clothiers, which will continue to operate its street-level retail space through the construction period. Currently, about 160 people work at the corporate offices. Simpson said it's not likely all will move to the South Temple location but added that no one — corporate or retail — is expected to lose their job for space reasons.

Deseret Book's new/relocated store — which will include a Lion House Pantry Express, children's reading area and a section for Mormon handicraft merchandise in addition to its book, music and home decor offerings — also will remain open throughout the construction period, Simpson said.

As will Mr. Mac. Office manager John Stoneman said that the store will be open at its current location at ZCMI Center until about May 1, 2007, at which point it will move to an as-yet-undisclosed location.

"We're not going to tell you where it is yet, because we haven't signed any papers," Stoneman said. "But I will say that it's going to be fantastic, and it's in the area — within a very short walk of where we are now."

No new information was available from the U.S. Postal Service as of Thursday, but spokesman Robert Vunder said the USPS is still negotiating with Property Reserve Inc., the real estate investment arm of the LDS Church. The USPS currently operates a branch at ZCMI Center. An announcement regarding that branch could come as early as next week, Vunder said.

FranklinCovey also didn't have any new information to report, said spokeswoman Debra Lund.

"We just do not have a definitive answer yet as to where we'll be moving," Lund said. "But we are exploring all options and will be making that announcement shortly."

Kent Parry, owner of Parry's Office Supply, said he plans to remain open until April or thereabouts, at which point he's been told he'll have to find a new place on his own.

"I was contacted about three weeks ago and told that while (the church) recognized that I provide a service downtown, and that I would be missed, that they just didn't have any space in their truncated retail space to relocate me. So if I want to relocate, I'm on my own."

Parry said he hasn't given up hope yet, but as it stands, with rents being what they are downtown, it's unlikely he'll be able to stay.

"I have a sentimental attachment to being downtown," Parry said. "I love my customers. But I have to be realistic, and what I've been offered, and with the available opportunities downtown, it doesn't make sense to remain."

Deseret Book, like the Deseret Morning News, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deseret Management Corp., the holding company for businesses owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.