After a century on Lehi Main Street, the building that was home to Porter’s Place restaurant was demolished in October 2019, and the corner has been unsightly rubble ever since. From 1971 to 2017, the iconic building was known as the home of Porter’s Place. Lehi City purchased the historic building in 2008, leasing it back to Bob Trepanier, the restaurant’s operator. In December of 2017, the nearly 100-year-old sewer system failed, causing the business closure. After several weeks of deliberation, the Lehi City Council decided against offering Trepanier a lease renewal and chose to sell the building and corner lot.
In January of 2018, the City issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting bids to purchase the property along with the adjacent building and parking lot as a package deal. The RFP had specific criteria for proposals to incorporate the historical “look and feel” of Downtown Lehi. The City received three bids to purchase the properties and ultimately selected the RFP made by Lehi resident Brian Brown, owner of Parker-Brown Real Estate. The winning bid was for $150,000. “Brown’s proposal best fit the criteria in concept, design, layout and price,” said Lehi Economic Development Director Marlin Eldred.
Lehi City Planning Commission got the first look at the proposed new building in early November 2018. Concern over whether the building should be three or four stories dominated the discussion. The Planning Commission provided a “neutral” recommendation to the City Council after a split decision vote–not meeting thresholds to pass or deny. Lehi citizens made passionate pleas to limit the building to three stories. The City Council ended up unanimously denying Parker Brown’s request for a fourth story. In early 2019, Parker Brown received concept plan approval for a revised three-story proposal, including a provision for mitigating parking concerns. Parker Brown’s plan includes leasing parking stalls from Lehi’s Legacy Center and a commitment to make the project more “historic” to fit into the Historic Commerce Zone.
Since the building was demolished in late 2019, the site has seen no development. The three-story building’s proposed plan includes:
A first-floor restaurant or retailer.
A second-floor office building.
Third-floor condos (4 total).
As residents continue to wonder when the project will begin, city officials anticipate the answer is soon.
“They got some of their final items completed last week, and they are scheduled for a pre-construction meeting this week,” said Lehi Community Development Director Kim Struthers when asked about reasons for the project’s delay.
Brian Brown, the landowner, did not return a request for comment.