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 Post subject: Rio Grande Salt Lake Shop Demolition (or refurbishment?)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:44 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 24
There has been a flurry of activity at the old Rio Grande steam era locomotive shops in Salt Lake City these past few weeks. The structure once served steam engines for both the Rio Grande and Western Pacific. On site are the ruins of the last roundhouse in the state of Utah.

It seems a few years ago current owner UTA decided to refurbish the building for use as a new electric bus garage. They had an architect design a refurbished site plan, and consulted with UtahRails.net admin Don Strack to understand the site's historic significance. The unveiled a refurbished site plan to the news media last year: https://www.ksl.com/article/46412159/ut ... I5tbfM4ss0

Image

Well a few weeks ago two different UTA employees both reported the site would be demolished completely since the transit agency found the cost of refurbishing the whole structure to modern earthquake code to be to expensive. Demolition started on the week of Utah's state Pioneer Day holiday (July 24). While the UTA employees both stated the entire site was going to be razed, I am still hearing mixed reports that indicate the building might still be refurbished with only a partial demolition to clear way for the garage. Its hard to tell at this point from the outside looking in what exactly is happening.

What is clear is that some demolition is indeed happening on the south side of the structure, currently just on an extension that was added on in its post-railroad use. These photos are from this Monday (July 29). Some links below:

https://scontent-lax3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5DD7B98C

https://scontent-lax3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5DDA17C1

I swung by again today, but while I haven't uploaded the photos yet its clear the remaining part of the metal extension has been taken down. The overhead shop crane in the second photo was removed and is now sitting in the dirt alongside the construction site. I guess for us in Utah now its just a wait and see moment, to see if the entire building is going to be demolished or if its going to be renovated for the garage UTA announced last year.


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 Post subject: Re: Rio Grande Salt Lake Shop Demolition (or refurbishment?)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:36 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 478
One photo you posted shows about 15,000 plus brick in the foreground staged for the construction which looks to be a pretty good match to the existing structure. That and the UTA website states, "Rather than building a new structure, UTA has chosen to repurpose the historic locomotive shop into a new bus maintenance facility. The building will be reinforced to meet current earthquake safety standards, and features like the original brick and windows will be preserved." So I'd go with refurbishment/expansion/adaptive reuse.

https://www.rideuta.com/news/2018/10/UTA-Begins-Work-on-Depot-District-Clean-Fuels-Center


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 Post subject: Re: Rio Grande Salt Lake Shop Demolition (or refurbishment?)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:54 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 24
Scranton Yard wrote:
One photo you posted shows about 15,000 plus brick in the foreground staged for the construction which looks to be a pretty good match to the existing structure. That and the UTA website states, "Rather than building a new structure, UTA has chosen to repurpose the historic locomotive shop into a new bus maintenance facility. The building will be reinforced to meet current earthquake safety standards, and features like the original brick and windows will be preserved." So I'd go with refurbishment/expansion/adaptive reuse.

https://www.rideuta.com/news/2018/10/UTA-Begins-Work-on-Depot-District-Clean-Fuels-Center


That brick pile was pointed out to me earlier and it is giving me a bit of hope! But for the sake of clarity I figure I should include the two quotes from UTA employees online that have me worried that might not be the case:

This one was posted in the Facebook group Rails Through the Wasatch by UTA employee Derrick Klarr on July 3: "Sad to report that the old DRGW shop buildings between 200 and 400 South will be getting demolished starting around July 22nd. Until just recently, I thought the plan was to repurpose them, but unfortunately it was determined to not be cost effective. You may want to get some photos while you can."

Then from another UTA employee Paul Liddiard on July 30 in the Facebook group Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society "There is nothing so permanent as change... they were trying to earthquake proof them, but found it uneconomically viable. So to keep the UTA "ON TIME AND UNDER BUDGET" thing going, they decided to raze them....I doubt anything will be saved." From what I know of these two sources I have no reason to distrust their accuracy since they both work for UTA and have a local involvement in preservation and railfan groups.

So yes, the brick pile is giving me some hope but I also trust both my sources on the matter. Hence why I feel a bit of uncertainty as to what is actually going to happen to the structure.


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 Post subject: Re: Rio Grande Salt Lake Shop Demolition (or refurbishment?)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:06 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 478
Keep in mind the building is being built to LEED standards and will be structurally modified to meet modern earthquake standards. The UTA website says that features such as the original brick and windows will be preserved. So the demo will be extensive. A change in the scope of work such as what you are proposing as a possibility could impact the funding and would have required a modification (at a minimum) of the contracts, additional design work, and potentially a revised submission to the state historic commission.

There are several folks mentioned in the article you posted the link to and in the UTA press release that could likely answer your question as to whether the project has been altered to include the demolition of the historic structure as opposed to what was announced and publicized at the groundbreaking. Contacting the author of the article by going to the bottom just below the photos and clicking on the envelope or facebook icon next to the author's name is a good place to start. Best of luck with your inquiries.


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 Post subject: Re: Rio Grande Salt Lake Shop Demolition (or refurbishment?)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 24
Scranton Yard wrote:
Keep in mind the building is being built to LEED standards and will be structurally modified to meet modern earthquake standards. The UTA website says that features such as the original brick and windows will be preserved. So the demo will be extensive. A change in the scope of work such as what you are proposing as a possibility could impact the funding and would have required a modification (at a minimum) of the contracts, additional design work, and potentially a revised submission to the state historic commission.

There are several folks mentioned in the article you posted the link to and in the UTA press release that could likely answer your question as to whether the project has been altered to include the demolition of the historic structure as opposed to what was announced and publicized at the groundbreaking. Contacting the author of the article by going to the bottom just below the photos and clicking on the envelope or facebook icon next to the author's name is a good place to start. Best of luck with your inquiries.


So I sent an email to UTA and this is what I got for response:

"Thank you for contacting UTA regarding the Depot District Clean Fuels Technology Center that is currently in the building removal phase of construction. You are correct when you say that UTA had originally hoped to refurbish and reuse the old UP locomotive building structure. Unfortunately, when the construction contract bids came in, it was estimated that the costs for reuse of the old building were in excess of $10 million higher than removal and reconstruction. As you noted, the costs of making this old building earthquake resistant to current building codes as well as asbestos (which was found as part of the environmental study) remediation were prohibitive. In addition the historical value of the building was lessened by the many modifications and remodels that had taken place over the years. Considering that these costs are taxpayer funded, the decision was made with the Federal Transportation Authority that the building should come down.

The current hope is that some of the brick from the building can be saved for use in other construction.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer further questions regarding UTA’s construction program.

Regards, Jana E. Evans"


So it looks pretty much confirmed the building is slated for demolition. Kind of odd UTA's representative called it an ex-UP building, but considering its been about three decades since the Rio Grande really ran in Utah its no surprise the UTA rep made that mistake. Its a pity though, it seems like UTA was trying to preserve it but balked at the price tag that would have had to have been paid on the tax payer's dime.

Anyways here was the demolitions progress as of August 1. From what I have heard its been slow going, so hopefully I can grab a few more photos before the whole building is gone:

https://scontent-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5DD88171

https://scontent-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5DE8123F


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 Post subject: Re: Rio Grande Salt Lake Shop Demolition (or refurbishment?)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:54 pm
Posts: 59
Attaching some photos I took inside the shop a few years ago.


Attachments:
drgw-104.jpg
drgw-104.jpg [ 256.68 KiB | Viewed 379 times ]
drgw-103.jpg
drgw-103.jpg [ 294.94 KiB | Viewed 379 times ]
drgw-102.jpg
drgw-102.jpg [ 283.66 KiB | Viewed 379 times ]
drgw-101.jpg
drgw-101.jpg [ 287.52 KiB | Viewed 379 times ]
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