A historic piece of Utah’s past to become part of the state’s economic future

Anyone who has driven down South Temple in Salt Lake City lately has noticed a whole lot of demolition going on near 400 East.

Soon, the historic Wall Mansion will become the central hub for The Policy Institute at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. Renovation work will both restore the building to its original, turn-of-the-century grandeur and add modern accouterments.

The University of Utah raised $7 million in private contributions to overhaul the building after it was donated to the school by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2014. Previously, the building was used to house LDS Business College, which moved to new facilities in 2006.

The project is scheduled for completion this fall. It will be home to The Policy Institute, a research initiative that incorporates the Bureau of Economic and Business Research and the Center for Public Policy and Administration. The Institute will prepare and share economic and demographic research and analyses that help business and community leaders make informed decisions about the future of Utah.

Economists, business leaders and civic authorities will gather to examine issues concerning Utah’s economy and create policies that will help the state continue to grow. It will also be used for community gatherings and private events.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done before any of that can happen.

Currently, one wing of the building, which once housed classrooms, is coming down so passersby can see the mansion and allow for extensive landscaping improvements.

Allen Roberts, president of Cooper-Roberts-Simonsen Architects in Salt Lake City is overseeing the work, which will focus on preserving the exquisite architecture and fine details of the 35,000 square foot space that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The original owner of the house was James Sharp, a chancellor for the University of Utah from 1882 to 1883 and a member of the Utah State Board of Regents. In 1904, Colonel Enos A. Wall purchased the property and hired Richard K.A. Kletting, the architect of the Utah State Capitol Building, to enlarge and remodel the mansion. It was completed in 1912 for $300,000 (which is equivalent in today’s dollars to about $7 million).

The 1912 mansion featured:

  • An Otis electric elevator (which is still operational)
  • A built-in vacuum system
  • A steam-heating system
  • Fireplaces in all six bedrooms
  • A ballroom on the third floor
  • A game room
  • Several guest bedrooms

Stay tuned for updates as the Wall Mansion undergoes its latest transformation.

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