|DATE 10/21/2005 10:17 AM
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.
‘J.C. Penney’ Store Being Restored
An century-old building in downtown Mt. Pleasant City that once housed one of the regions first J.C. Penney stores is being restored, thanks to the efforts of a Salt Lake City business owner.
Pete Henderson, owner of the Rio Grande Café in Salt Lake City, has purchased the old “Wasatch Block Building” at 64 W. Main Street. Built around 1889, the structure has retained much of its Victorian charm. It was originally built to house Wasatch Mercantile Company. It later was home to the Star Theatre and, in 1926, a J.C. Penney store. Most recently it was a video and general store.
Henderson is working with architect Kim Hyatt to restore the building to its former glory. “I just have a great love of old historical buildings,” he said. “But I’m quickly learning that I’ve taken on a mighty big project.”
He is receiving assistance and input from the Mt. Pleasant Main Street Program, the Utah Main Street Program, Wasatch Academy and the Utah Heritage Foundation. Currently, Henderson plans to turn the upper portion of the building into an apartment, and is in discussions with Mt. Pleasant City and Wasatch Academy on bout how to best utilize the lower portion of the building.
Through the Utah Heritage Foundation, he is taking part in a pilot project to help finance his endeavor. Working with Zion’s Bank, the Utah Heritage Foundation has started a new collaborative rehabilitation loan program that offers low-interest and flexible financing to property owners seeking to rehabilitate historical commercial buildings.
The goal of the program is to provide a resource to Main Street partner communities to further their efforts to revitalize historical downtown areas, says Monte Bona, who heads Mt. Pleasant’s Main Street Program. “The loan program is unique because it specifically targets rehabilitation efforts that are aiming to restore a building’s original character,” he says.
Restoring old buildings to their original form helps enhance the marketability of that building, as well as restoring the identity of the city, which plays a pivotal role in enhancing the experience of visitors to the region, Bona says.
“People come to Mt. Pleasant and travel along U.S. Highway 89, the heritage highway, because they want to see life as it was 100 years ago,” he says. “Projects like Peter Henderson’s are helping us preserve the cultural and architectural treasures of this pioneer heritage area and strengthen opportunities for local heritage-related businesses.”
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