DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) — The demolition of the old Utah State Prison in Draper near the point of the mountain is nearly complete. One of the last standing guard towers is planned to be demolished early Wednesday morning, a milestone in the redevelopment of the area.
Demolition on the prison began in November when crews toppled the first guard tower. Within the year, crews have worked quickly, rapidly removing buildings and structures that made up the decades-old prison.
“The decades-old prison facilities surrounded by razor wire and guard towers are virtually gone. The land that was previously isolated, closed and restricted will soon become open and accessible for all Utahns to enjoy,” said Land Authority Co-Chair and Utah House Rep. Jordan Teuscher (R-South Jordan). “We are transforming this site into Utah’s Innovation Community where Utahns will have the freedom to choose from a variety of high-paying jobs, world-class shopping venues, family-friendly activities, recreational amenities, entertainment venues, and so much more.”
Once the old prison has been removed, the area will be redeveloped into a new urban hub. The hub will include retail and entertainment, several parks, dining and residential housing.
Work on the urban hub, called The Point, will begin by laying down the foundation and backbone infrastructure such as roads and utilities. Vertical construction on new buildings and structures is scheduled to begin in 2025.
Phase 1 of The Point will include a paved trail that will connect the Jordan River Parkway Trail to the foothills of Corner Canyon in Draper. It also includes a culinary alley of indoor and outdoor restaurants, a mixed-use main street of shopping, grocery, and housing, a central park, and a space for pop-up art and innovation.
While most of the old prison has been removed to facilitate space for the Point, the Land Authority has protected and preserved the prison chapel, known as “Chapel by the Wayside.” Inmates built the chapel in the early 1960s with a multi-denominational group of community organizers and citizens who helped fund its construction. The Point officials said the chapel will continue to be an important part of the site’s future as “a symbol of redemption and hope.”
Materials including concrete, steel, asphalt and more have also been preserved from the demolition. The Point said it plans on recycling these materials to help build the new infrastructure. According to The Point officials, enough materials have been recycled to lay the foundation for over 1,000 homes, enough steel for 66 four-story office buildings, and enough asphalt for five miles of road.
“From day one we made a commitment to Utahns that we would conduct our work at The Point in a sustainable manner. Our demolition efforts directly reflect that commitment,” said The Point executive director Alan Matheson. “Concrete from the old prison buildings is being crushed onsite for use in the foundation of new buildings and to build future roads.”
Matheson said in addition to being a sustainable approach toward demolition and reconstruction, it both literally and figuratively turns the site from a place of constraint to one of openness and opportunity.