A local buyer recently came forward for the old Park School, just weeks before the Dec. 31 deadline the city council had given for it to either be purchased or demolished.
Draper City entered into a contract with Godfrey Properties & Design for the purchase of the Park School building and the surrounding property after accepting Godfrey’s offer of $850,000 at the Dec. 16 city council meeting.
Godfrey Properties & Design has put $10,000 non-refundable earnest money on the purchase and the company has until March 1 for their due diligence period. During that time, the company will have engineers and architects determine the financial feasibility of restoring the Park School.
Brent Andersen is the real estate broker representing Godfrey Properties & Design in the purchase. Andersen explained that his client, Gregg Godfrey, is responsible for “Nitro Circus” and other shows on television and that Godfrey is a writer and developer of movies, ideas and concepts.
“He’s involved with a whole different world of people; artists and different businesses that aren’t here in Draper now, but would be valuable to Draper,” Andersen said.
Godfrey spoke to the city council as well.
“You’ve got some really credible companies at the get go that want to be part of it. It’s a fun project. For me, it’s close to my heart because we’re here. It’s just magical the way it’s happened. I think we can revive it, make it something special,” Godfrey said.
Godfrey said he’s lived in Draper for about 15 years, and his company had office space in Bluffdale until recently, when he began trying to find something in Draper. He’s a friend of local jeweler, Jon P. Lee who suggested that he talk to the city about the school. Godfrey is also acquainted with Mayor Troy Walker and Katie Shell who has worked to save the building.
“It was the perfect storm of where the building was sitting, our affiliation with Jon, Katie and Troy. We came in and said, ‘We want to salvage this and try to make it work,’” Godfrey said.
Godfrey credits his wife, Shelley, for “wanting to make the building the heartbeat of Draper.”
Godfrey and his wife have witnessed the transformation of a historic building before. Early in their marriage, they lived in the McCune Mansion in Salt Lake City. He said the mansion was falling apart at the time and that he and his wife helped take care of it. Then it was purchased and restored. It is an event venue today.
“We watched the whole process go on, and we hoped we would have that opportunity as time went on. With the success of “Nitro Circus,” we have that opportunity in our city,” Godfrey said.
Godfrey has a B.A. in film studies from the University of Utah, and he had an internship at Disney before starting his own entertainment company at age 25. His “Nitro Circus” was a show on MTV and a movie before becoming the live entertainment brand that it still is today. He currently has a television show called “The Godfrey Clan” in the works.
“A lot of people have had the guts to stay out of Hollywood and create great projects, develop filmmaking for the world,” Godfrey said.
He hopes to have office and creative space for his own company in the school and to attract other businesses such as sports and outdoor oriented companies.
Godfrey said he wants to “give back, create jobs and opportunities” with this venture. He said his wife also hopes to have a candy and old-style soda shop in the building.
“I was always hopeful there would be a way to save the building. I didn’t believe there was a government solution. I’m glad there’s a private solution. Those guys are very creative. I think they’ll come up with something that will preserve the history and come up with something fun and unique and something we’re glad to have in the town center,” Mayor Troy Walker said.
Walker said that Godfrey Properties & Design has agreed to preserve not all, but a portion of the building, but he stressed that “preserve” is a loose term.
“It’s a unique purchase as you can imagine,” Walker said, adding, “It’s whatever they can do. We just don’t know.”
Lindsay Goeckeritz had established the group Arts at the Park and worked on fundraising efforts to save the Park School from demolition. She had envisioned it as a community arts center.
“I came with lots of ideas, but not the money and they’re ready to go. I think this is a great thing for our community,” Goeckeritz said.
Katie Shell, who also worked to save the Park School on behalf of the Draper Historic Preservation Commission and other groups, echoed Goeckeritz’s sentiments.
“I just think it’s wonderful. The Godfreys want to do arts-related types of things. That is just so unique and perfectly suited for the Park School,” Shell said.
If the deal goes south, there will be no respite for the building.
“If it falls through, it’s going to get demolished. There’s no contingency plan,” Walker said.