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The best views of Salt Lake Valley arguably are from the old Veterans Administration Hospital perched above 12th Avenue near F Street.

From there, on a clear day, the magnificent expanse of the Wasatch Mountains stretches to Lone Peak. The Oquirrh Mountains define the valley's western edge with its world-famous copper mine. And, of course, the summer sunsets on the Great Salt Lake are spectacular.

At nighttime, the city sparkles with a million lights 400 feet below.

But for a long time, the views from the old hospital have been going to waste. The building - now 74 years old - has stood empty for 16 years.

In the not-too-distant future, new residents will be enjoying those grand views. The old hospital is getting a makeover into 28 luxury condominiums. The project is being developed by Pembroke Capitol Park and should be done by the end of 2007, said Richard Sheinberg, the firm's managing partner.

And he is not shy about plugging the project's views. "They're sensational."

But more than the views, Sheinberg is happy about bringing the historic structure back to life. It will be dubbed "The Meridien" after a peak located north of the Avenues district near City Creek Canyon.

"I'm excited by the project. When it comes to fruition, we will have preserved this wonderful building," he said. "This is a city that enjoys preservation. It's an important value here."

The red brick neoclassical structure that was completed in 1932 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a hospital, it served veterans from the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

But in 1964, the Veterans Administration opened a new hospital and the LDS Church purchased the old one as an annex to its Primary Children's Medical Center. Intermountain Healthcare, which took over Primary Children's, bought it in 1987 and kept the facility open until 1990, according to A History of the Veterans Administration Hospital by Anne Oliver.

After that, the old building sat empty. In 1995, Intermountain Healthcare sold it to a firm called Park City Construction, which later changed its name to Avenue Heights Condominiums. But the company's plans to develop the old hospital never got off the ground.

The building's empty windows continued to stare down on the valley.

Then, in November 2004, Pembroke bought the building and about 4 acres it sits on.

The structure has been gutted. Recently, according to Salt Lake City's Planning Department, Pembroke obtained permits to begin construction on units that will range in size from 1,800 square feet to 5,500 square feet.

"We're ready to rock 'n' roll," Sheinberg said.

On a recent tour through the building, the developer noted its solid construction. Its five levels are separated by concrete floors. You never would hear your upstairs neighbors if they took to dancing or playing loud music.

"All the engineers who come up here remark on how well this building was built," Sheinberg said. "It's cast-in-place reinforced concrete. They call it 'stout.' "

Each of the 28 units is being designed with views in mind. The condos sell for $700,000 to $2.5 million. And, according to the company's brochure, about half have been sold.

"The idea was to preserve it for folks who have had a little luck in life," Sheinberg said. "We've had a tremendous amount of interest from people who want to move out of large homes. They want to be free of yard work and snow shoveling, but still want a feel of openness and serenity."

And, yes, he added, they want great views, too.