Historic building in Hardware District to become regional HQ for development services company

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Across from West High School in the Hardware District, a three-story building on the National Register of Historic Places has been purchased by VanTrust, a wrap-around development services company based in Kansas City. 

At 205 N. 400 West, the Salt Lake Lumber Building was previously owned and occupied by And Justice for All, the parent non-profit for Salt Lake Legal Aid Society, which has moved to 960 S. Main Street in the Ballpark neighborhood.

Built in 1909, the 27,000 SF structure sits on .5 acres and is assessed by Salt Lake County at $4.26M. The three-story brick building, somewhat obscured by mature street trees,  is conveniently located 1 1/2 blocks from the North Temple Bridge Frontrunner station, and two blocks from the North Temple TRAX stop.

There are 40 surface parking stalls on the property, providing a ratio of 1.48 per 1000 SF. It is zoned TSA-UC-C, one of the city’s most intense categories outside the Downtown (D) zones.

Built as the Morrison-Merrill Lumber Company Offices, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The building’s historical marker states, “Under the direction of George Merrill, who served as the company’s president from 1911 to 1947, Morrison-Merrill grew from a moderately sized operation in northern Utah to a three-state network of more than 100 subsidiary firms.”

VanTrust Real Estate, a Building Salt Lake advertiser, has offices in Kansas City, Phoenix, Dallas, Columbus, Jacksonville, and now, Salt Lake City.

According to projects listed on its website, VanTrust’s heaviest involvement is in Kansas City, followed by Columbus, Cincinnati, Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Jacksonville.

According to a press release, VanTrust is a full-service development company that specializes in office, industrial, multi-family, science and technology, and mixed-use development. Founded in 2010, it has developed more than $6.8 billion of product nationwide.

Chris McCluskey, VanTrust’s Salt Lake City office head of operations, stated “We are thrilled to have made this investment in downtown Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake Lumber Building provides us with a unique opportunity to take this rare turn-of-the-century building and transform it into a contemporary office space that serves our company as well as other Utah businesses.”

VanTrust hopes to start demolition and interior renovation this summer and have it completed for occupancy in early 2025.

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.