New developments coming to downtown Salt Lake City
Visit downtown Salt Lake City and you’ll notice a rapidly changing skyline; cranes hang in the sky as vertical buildings continue to rise. Much of the energy behind the positive growth of Utah’s capital city is supported by Mayor Mendenhall and her economic development team as they bring their initiatives for ‘Tech Lake City’ and ‘BioHive’ to the forefront, enticing outside tech companies to make their way to Utah. In support of the efforts, and also a downtown dweller, Colliers has become the premier real estate office facilitating relocations.
Clark Cahoon, technology and innovation advisor for the Salt Lake Economic Development team thinks that the “tech lake city” branding is a step in a new direction. “In the past, there hasn’t been a real focus to see a lot of growth in that sector, and what the mayor has landed on is a focus on healthcare innovation, which is strategic because we have a great pipeline of companies coming out of the University of Utah.”
A focus on healthcare innovation makes sense for many reasons, specifically for the longevity of the jobs. Digital health is another component that is being looked at as software is becoming more and more important as it is tied to drug discovery or smart medical devices, says Mendenhall. “We started right away in 2020, shaping up a position in economic development that could help lead [the healthcare] initiative and then funded it, even [during] the beginning of the pandemic because it was [becoming clear] that this strategy and investment in building out a robust tech sector in our city would be part of our recovery.”
Development on the skyline
Not only will the ‘Tech Lake City’ initiative help boost recovery downtown, but it will help position the city for tremendous growth. With several new projects and developments moving forward at once, Salt Lake has the potential to be another hub for tech companies with its public transportation infrastructure and cultural offerings.
For instance, the tower that will replace Broadway Place is said to be 31-stories tall, with the upper 26-31 floors accommodating 359 residential units and the ground floor a place for retail. Furthermore, 95 South State is a 515,000 square foot, 25 story office building nearing completion. With this development, the tenant who wants to be downtown in a high-rise now has new options with larger square footage available.
“What this does is showcase Salt Lake in a different light for companies that are looking to come here. More than ever, outside companies are looking to establish regional hubs outside of their home cities,” says Chris Kirk, managing director of Colliers. “Salt Lake has always been on the radar but is now more in the crosshairs. Utah is unique in that we have a different offering of a downtown urban environment that isn’t available in our suburban office markets due to access to amenities, arts and entertainment, food culture, mass transit convenience, and walkability.”
High-quality of life, relative affordability, and access to qualified labor are additional advantages bringing in those outside companies looking to expand in downtown Salt Lake City. “It really is pretty remarkable, that renaissance that has been the ‘downtown’ is now going into another gear of sophistication, that is architecture and skyline,” adds Kirk. “A remote workforce was already in play, the pandemic pushed it along and with the success of Silicon Slopes has already done so much to put Salt Lake on the map with tech companies, and that familiarity breeds interest.”
New developments to dot the Salt Lake skyline was originally published in the 2021 issue of The Advisor