With the economy in the shits, thanks to the Republicant’s reversal of a Budget Surplus into an Enormous Deficit, and several other factors; Its amazing to think that there is any development going on at all. Utah has lost about 32,800 jobs over the past year, according to the Deseret News. Thats about the entire population of Vernal! But Utah is bucking the trend, and has several significant projects currently underway in SLC and all along the Wasatch Front . As an Urban Yuppie I have great interest in cities and have aspirations of being an urban planner one day. I currently work in an architecture firm and study urban planning at Weber State. Im going to focus on the development of Salt Lake City a lot in this Blog throughout time. This first blog is devoted to the three projects I have deemed the most significant. They are; The City Creek Project in Downtown SLC by the LDS Church and its partners, The Frank Gehry Project taking place in Lehi with developer Brandt Anderson, And the Hamilton Partners new downtown skyscraper. I chose these three because I believe they will have the most lasting impact on our community.
The Gehry Project is interesting not only because it is in the center of the two most populous counties in the state, but it also will have the tallest building in the State! Yeah that’s right,I said it, Lehi will have the state’s tallest building. I guess I can’t complain because the state’s current tallest building is the LDS Church Office Building, and that is an awful eyesore of a building. Who ever designed it needs to be shot, it is an embarrassment to the city’s already limited architectural quality. Also, although places like the Gateway are important to have in large cities, I hate the way the Gateway was designed. It looks like it belongs out in one of the Jordan’s with its stucco facade and chain restaurants and shops. Sorry got sidetracked there, The Gehry Project will have a public basketball arena, 5 star hotel, man made lake, with mixed residential and commercial space. Heres some Pic’s of the proposed development thanks to Deseret News and Link to the article; http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,660191622,00.html ;
The City Creek Project is not just proposed like the Gehry project is, but it’s currently underway. Of course it helps when your financing is coming from the LDS Church, especially in these rough economic times. But never the less, the cranes are poking out of the site and the building’s are getting a new makeover. It will be nice to have something in the middle of downtown to give tourists another destination other then the Gateway. Although, I always question the selling of more and more land in Downtown SLC to the LDS Church, I think the LDS church has come along way over the past few years. They have shown to be more and more open to regular business practices. The trick for the LDS church is realizing that to be a good business you have to sell to EVERYBODY, and not just those who you deem worthy. The Marriot chain of hotels is a great example of this, they realize that they are not in the business of shoving religion down people’s throats, but are in business to give people accommodations. This has proved them well, considering they are one of the largest hotel chains in the world. But the City Creek Project will be pedestrian friendly with mostly upscale shops and restaurants with an actual stream rolling through it. It will however, unfortunately have a sky bridge, keeping people off of main street and potentially hurting foot traffic that would help shops on Main Street become profitable again for the first time in decades. This was highy controversial but in the end, The LDS church got its way, Of course, Of course. Here are some pics and a link to the wikipedia entry and downtown risings site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Creek_Center also http://www.downtownrising.com/city_creek/CC_download.php
The last project we will see is the Hamilton Partners Skyscraper on Main Street in downtown SLC. It is 22 floors is due to be completed by November of this year. Anyone who has been down on main may be surprised to see it, because it seemed to just pop up over night, I swear if you blinked you would have missed it. It happened so fast. I am very impressed with this buildings whole facade and planning. It’s a great addition to the city and I hope all of you take time to come up to Downtown and view the progression of this beautiful building, located just West of the Gallivan center at 222 Main. Here are the links: http://www.hamiltonpartners.com/location_overview.php?region=UT&type=office&id=228 , www.222main.com.
One last side note: I think that Trolley Square has TONS of potential, My idea for Trolley is just an idea and I already know that the new development for it is already planned and currently underway, But I would love to have a place like Trolley turn into a bar and club designated area with restaurants and other entertainment, similar to places in Phoenix and San Diego. It would be fully serviced by public transportation given that the Trax line is just down the street and there is full bus service in the area as well. Taxi service would pick up around the area too, That’s good for an industry still reeling from the states decision to put Trax into the airport and thus carving a huge source of income out of the taxi companies pockets. This is a safer way to have bars, it encourages people to ride to one spot and walk to several bars and restaurants rather then drinking and driving to bar after bar. It would have a HUGE economic impact on the city and state by increasing tourism and sales tax revenue. Remember Utah, Booze sales help pay for your schools, so you should stop trying to demonize it, because it is helping pay for your ten children’s public education.