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Salt Lake City — The Downtown Alliance and global real estate firm, CBRE, Inc., released the annual Economic Benchmark Report on Tuesday, July 16 at the Inaugural Downtown Symposium. The report presents facts about the downtown economy for stakeholders, property owners, civic leaders and residents to help gauge opportunities for improvement and growth within downtown.
Economic indicators in the study include: infill development, retail, employment and wages, office and housing market conditions. The impact from entertainment, culture, conventions and tourism is also highlighted. This edition of the benchmark study, recently cited in a New York Times article, collects historic data to highlight trends and growth within the 1.08 square mile district, with a focus on the 2012-2013 budget year.
“Salt Lake City’s commercial real estate market continues to reflect a strong local economy,” said Mark Bouchard, senior managing director of CBRE. “Healthy job growth is creating a substantial amount of demand for office space, and this growth is expected to continue, resulting in a very positive outlook for the office market. With regard to the retail market, the addition of City Creek has created renewed vitality along Main Street, attracting new retailers to downtown. As one of the few areas that can accommodate large amounts of near-term growth, the outlook for downtown is very bright indeed.”
An important fact highlighted in the Times article, gleaned from this study, is the impact of the $1.5 billion City Creek Center mixed-use development project. In its inaugural year, the center injected $209 million in sales to the downtown economy, resulting in a 36 percent increase in retail spending.
According to the report, one of the indicators of success in a downtown area is infill development, which helps increase traffic congestions, save open space and promote vibrancy and density. In 2012, infill development continued at unprecedented levels. Total project value either under construction or set to break ground in 2013 is over $793.6 million. "We appreciate what Salt Lake City has done to support development and encourage investment in our downtown,” said Jason Mathis, Downtown Alliance executive director. “We share a common vision in the redevelopment of surface parking lots and increased urban density, a vision that will continue to progress by making development easier and more profitable in downtown."
Continued investment in downtown is expected. Projects such as 101 Tower, 111 South Main, several housing developments and The New Performing Arts Center are in various stages of planning and construction. Potential projects, such as a large convention center hotel, could increase investment in downtown, as well as bolster employment and tourism.