LOGAN, Utah - From a shopping center, into a library. This week, Logan City announced plans to buy The Emporium building on Main Street and redevelop it.
Logan Mayor Craig Petersen said it’s something the city has been looking at for several years.
The Emporium building has been a been struggling to keep tenants, especially after the shopping mall lost its main anchor, the Coppermill Restaurant, in 2014.
Petersen said tearing the building down and constructing a new library in its place will revitalize the area.
“Bring people in here of all ages, from children to retired people, and provide them opportunities to come to the downtown,” Petersen said. “So they’ll come here for learning. But we hope that will also bleed off into our downtown businesses.”
But David Carlson Miller, and other business owners who rent space in the building, think it’s a mistake. They say it’s not fair to condemn an entire building because of decreased foot traffic.
“There needs to be a great restaurant upstairs, and that would be enough draw to where they could fill up the building again,” said Carlson Miller. “It’s a classic building. It’d be a shame to tear it down.”
City council member Tom Jensen said the building, in its current form, does not work effectively as a retail space. By building a library there, the city can use the land where the current library sits for a new commercial development. Jensen said the city is already talking to interested developers.
“We needed a better library, we wanted to develop our city block, and we wanted to also revitalize our downtown,” Petersen said. “Putting the library here achieves all three of those objectives.”
The project has an estimated $10 million price tag. The sale of the buildings should happen next month, but it could take at least two years to get funding and plans approved.
Logan resident Jason Reese wishes the city would spend that time and money on keeping The Emporium where it is.
“They want to tear this beautiful and historic building out,” Reese said. “Where a lot of businesses thrive and grow here.”
The city is also purchasing two neighboring buildings, but Jensen said those are not part of the redevelopment project, and will likely be resold to local businesses at a later date.