An elegant Beaux Arts building was a gift from John Q. Packard as the first permanent home of the public library in Salt Lake City. With its grand opening in October 1905 the library was well used until it moved in the 1960s. When the Hansen Planetarium moved in, the remodeling needed for this building to house the Hansen Planetarium resulted in major interior alterations. Many of the windows and historic elements were concealed and an addition was made to the rear of the building for the planetarium's "sky chamber" dome.
With the departure of the planetarium in 2003, the historic build stood vacant. Years of weathering and deterioration of the limestone façade and sandstone foundation had become more apparent. The terra cotta details were cracked and in need of restoration. As the building's owner, Salt Lake City sought a new owner that would sensitively renovate and reuse this remarkable building. That's when the O.C. Tanner Company, a long-time anchor and philanthropic partner in downtown, proposed the restoration of the iconic building as their flagship retail location.
A primary goal of the new interior was to conceal the seismic upgrade and all mechanical systems while maintaining the defining historic features. The historic wood windows that remained in nearly all the locations have been meticulously restored. The front lobby's grand, sweeping stairs showcase refinished wood railings and are original to the historic building. The showroom floors are joined by a striking modern circular staircase that leads you to the third floor with the original fir ceiling.
The exterior also received a full restoration. Limestone walls, terra cotta ornamentation, and sandstone foundation were cleaned, repointed, and treated to improve their resistance to weather.
A beautiful historic renovation has been integrated with eye-catching modern features to produce a stunning preservation project on State Street that shines just as bright on the outside as it does on the inside.
Utah Heritage Foundation presented O.C. Tanner with a Heritage Award for the restoration of the Historic Packard Library and Hansen Planetarium.
Project Architect: Rob Pett, MJSA Architecture
General Contractor: Big-D Construction