Press Release

National Trust Presents National Preservation Honor Award to First Security Bank Building in Salt Lake City, Utah

Ribbon cutting ceremony marks the opening of the First Security Bank.Ribbon cutting ceremony marks the opening of the First Security Bank.
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Pittsburgh, Pa. (November 2, 2006) – Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the First Security Bank Building in Salt Lake City its prestigious National Preservation Honor Award. The project was one of 21 national award winners honored by the National Trust during its week-long 2006 National Preservation Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Completed in 1955, First Security Bank was the first addition to Salt Lake City's downtown skyline in nearly 30 years and Utah's first major modern building. The sleek steel and glass tower heralded the city's renewed prosperity, and local newspapers quickly likened the bank building to the United Nations' headquarters in New York City.

But by 2002, the First Security Bank building was up for sale and many were concerned that it would be subject to insensitive alteration or even demolition. Happily, the building wound up in the hands of an owner, Wasatch Property Management, willing to go the extra mile to keep its mid-century look intact. The owner gutted the tenant floors down to the steel, removed the asbestos and upgraded the exterior to maintain the feel of the original, internationally-influenced architecture.

"With its glass-and-steel facades recalling an optimistic era not so long ago, the First Security Bank building heralds a bright future for a piece of the recent past," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "This project is a model for the successful rehabilitation and continued use of recent past architecture across the country."

With the help of a National Register listing, federal tax credits, advice from preservationists, the newest technologies and plenty of determination, the building was rehabbed with such finesse that its original architect, W.A. Sarmiento, says it looks as good as the day it opened. Today, the building is almost fully leased, anchoring and supporting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Salt Lake City.

First Security Bank BuildingFirst Security Bank Building
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Co-nominees honored today for the First Security Bank Building Preservation Award are Wasatch Property Management Inc., Big D Construction Corporation, Edwards and Daniels Architects, Utah Division of History, Office of Preservation and Utah Heritage Foundation.

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation.

Media interested in learning more about the National Trust’s 2006 National Preservation Award Winners or in attending future conference events should contact the National Trust Communications Office at 202-588-6141. Registration is free to the media, as are the Awards Ceremony, field sessions, educational sessions, and special events. For more information and images of the 2006 National Preservation Award winners, visit