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One year later, still no end in sight for Broadway Hotel cleanup in Tooele

Posted at 9:46 PM, Dec 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 23:46:54-05

For decades, people have been calling the Broadway Hotel in Tooele an "eyesore."

It caught fire in July 2020 after years of sitting vacant and attracting squatters.

Crews demolished the hotel last December.

However, a pile of debris has sat on the lot for more than a year — featuring dirty mattresses, beer bottles, tires, strollers, stuffed animals, cigarettes, and asbestos.

Because of the asbestos, crews told the city it would cost more than a million dollars to finish the cleanup.

American West LLC, the company that owns the property, has told the city it does not have enough money to pay the cleanup fees. 

Plans to build apartments on the lot have stalled indefinitely, although some are still trying to remain optimistic.

"I have only good things to say about the property owner," said Jared Stewart, the economic development coordinator for Tooele City. "Things are going to get redeveloped, and it just takes a little time."

Stewart said the high price tag has made things significantly more complicated for the property owner, especially because one of the principals of American West LLC has died.

He defended Tooele's decision to not impose fines on the company, which is being run by owner Dan Brett.

"I think the most effective thing to do is work together," Stewart said. "There's just some transition time that's needed."

Brett, through American West LLC, also owns a building across the street from the old Broadway Hotel which was damaged by the same fire. It remains standing and boarded up.

When FOX 13 visited both sites, it was clear that the fence surrounding the properties were not secure, open in at least four locations. 

Multiple sheets of plywood had been ripped off building windows.

"If somebody's really trying to get in, they get in," Stewart said. "We do our best to keep people out of there... it's the property owner's responsibility."

"This town has not done anything with Broadway for years," said resident Frank Gallo. "They say they're going to do something. They say it, but just nothing really gets done... Since I was a kid, (the hotel) has been boarded up."

Stewart said the city is trying to get Brett connected with state and federal cleanup programs, so they can help foot the bill.

The city was not able to commit to a timeline, but hoped to see "progress" by fall 2022 - more than two years after the hotel caught fire.

"Yeah, that's a while," said resident Curtis Canfield. "That's not for me to say, where someone lies financially... but it's an eyesore, that's for sure, and a hazard."

"If (Brett) wants to leave it vacant, how does he get a return on his investment to clean it up, right?" Stewart said. "I think it's certainly in his best interest to redevelop it."