Porter’s Place, a western restaurant owned by Bob Trepanier, is on the brink of closing after being a staple since 1971. The restaurant, located in Lehi City, is known for its love for Porter Rockwell. The food and atmosphere drive tourists to the location on a daily basis.
The building where Porter’s Place is located is some 100 years old, leading to a serious problem for the restaurant: plumbing issues.
The building’s age started to show when Trepanier noticed that the pipes leading to the restaurant’s toilets started to backup. The issue caused the restaurant to close its doors the Saturday before Christmas. The issue has caused the restaurant to remain closed.
A sewer camera inspection points to serious issues at the restaurant.
Trepanier was ready to move the business to Draper in 2008, and he sold the building to the city at the time. He planned to use the money from the sale to pay for development of Porter Rockwell Place in Bluffdale. The economy took a dive shortly after the sale, leading to his plans being halted.
Trepanier went on to lease the building from the city of Lehi after plans to move locations fell through. He also had plans to move the restaurant’s location in 2016 to Nephi, and he even located an old log building. He planned to relocate the restaurant to the building before opting to keep the iconic restaurant in Lehi.
He asked the city multiple times to sell the building back to him, but the city has declined since it owns the two lots next to the building.
The area is a key part of the city’s revitalization plan, explains councilman Johnny Revill.
The city hopes to be able to package the three lots together and sell them to a developer in an attempt to revitalize the city’s downtown. The city hopes a developer will renovate and refurbish the buildings into something that meshes with the city’s downtown vibe.
The city examined the problems at Porter’s Place after Christmas and found that the repair would cost the city $30,000. City workers found additional issues during the inspection. The building, made on a rock foundation, is said to be in such disrepair that it violates multiple city codes. Restoring the building would be nearly impossible, claims the city.
Black mold was also found in the 100+ year old building.
Lehi claims that the building has been grandfathered into old building codes that are more relaxed. The city is now concerned that the building is in such disrepair that Lehi is liable for the potential risks it poses as the building’s owner.
The city’s council met on January 2 and decided not to make a decision on whether or not to fix the building until after accurate estimates have been given.
Trepanier will not be responsible for his $1,000 lease payment per month until the building is reopened. He claims that the city’s indecision is harming his business, which has been closed for several weeks. He claims his business is dying and cites that a business cannot stay closed for very long.