Thousands of genealogists have stayed at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at 122 West South Temple, adjacent to the Family History Library. This hotel is about a 30-second walk to the world famous genealogy library. Its convenience has attracted many guests over the years. Now this hotel is to be partially converted to student housing for a nearby college.
The Inn at Temple Square is located across the intersection from the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel and is perhaps a 60-second walk from the Family History Library. The Inn has always been a bit more elegant than its lower cost competitor across the street. Now the Inn at Temple Square will soon be demolished to make way for a Nordstrom store.
What many genealogists do not know is that both properties are owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). The church's real-estate investment arm owns everything at the Inn at Temple Square and also owns the land underneath the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, although apparently not the building itself. The hotel owners lease the land from the Church. The LDS Church is now negotiating to buy out the Plaza's lease.
Rumors have been flying lately, so church spokesman Dale Bills tried to put the rumors to rest this week. Bills reports that, if the negotiations are successful, the majority of the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel will continue to operate as a hotel with the lobby and three floors of the hotel to be upgraded. About 70 of the hotel's 226 rooms will be converted into student housing for the nearby LDS Business College. The business college is moving in the fall from 411 E. South Temple to the Triad Center, between 300 West and 400 West on South Temple. The church's Brigham Young University satellite also will move to Triad.
Across the intersection, the Inn at Temple Square will soon be demolished to make room for the expansion already underway at the Crossroads Mall. The space where the Inn at Temple Square is presently located will become a Nordstrom store.
It's unclear just when the Inn will close, but hotel officials are guaranteeing reservations only through the end of February.
In short, visiting genealogists will lose 90 rooms at the Inn at Plaza Square plus another 70 rooms at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel. All the other hotels are two blocks away or further. Salt Lake City blocks are much bigger than the blocks in most other cities; so, the walk will be the equivalent of three or four blocks in other cities.
If you are planning a trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City next spring or later, be prepared to walk a bit more than you did on your last visit. You might want to read my article from October 25, 2005, entitled "Where to Stay in Salt Lake City" at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2005/10/where_to_stay_i.html