The Rapid Transformation of Salt Lake City Downtown

With its location next to the Salt Palace Convention Center, The Rapid Transformation of Salt Lake City Downtown, the new Hyatt Regency has emerged as Salt Lake City’s new crown gem. The former Pantages Theater has regrettably been destroyed and is located a block to the east on Main Street.

A 45-story luxury apartment building, backed by the Hines Corporation, which has a real estate portfolio worth just over $90 billion, will soon rise in its place. The tower will be located across the street from Salt Lake City’s Eccles Theater, which is surrounded by the magnificent City Creek Center Mall with Tiffany and Michael Kors, as well as large offices for JP Morgan Chase, KeyBank, and Wells Fargo.

I won’t state the obvious for the time being: With so much of Salt Lake City’s tax revenue and economy tied to Wall Street corporations, entering our next economic cycle is like taking a very lovely trip on the Titanic: we know it’s going down; it’s quickly filling with water, but aren’t the finger sandwiches delicious? Additionally, isn’t the violin concerto lovely?

Ruin Bar is independently owned by Amy Leininger. When they decided to move their pub from Sugar House to Main Street, the Leinigers staked a sizable wager. Leininger enjoys taking a daily stroll to her place of business on Main Street.


Amy and her husband Rheda have owned businesses in the downtown area for the past 15 years, ranging from BBQ places to advertising companies to boutiques and markets.

Leininger expresses sadness about the Pantages Theater’s departure regarding the improvements on Main Street. However, she adds, “I’m pleased about the new dynamism the Hines tower will offer to this side of Main Street. I wish the heritage could have been maintained. We must alter and adapt; we cannot remain old-fashioned.

The Rapid Transformation of Salt Lake City Downtown

Boomerang’s Downunder Bar is located across from Ruin and attracts young partygoers with its slightly cheaper drinks. Jacqueline Joseph co-owns a nightclub above and a bar downstairs with her partner. I ask Joseph how they felt about the idea of having Main Street closed to cars during the weekend, which is now that summer is finished.

“We adored wide open spaces. Excellent for business. It’s a fantastic concept. “They should just go for it and keep Main Street off-limits to autos,” Joseph suggested. According to Downunder, they have until March to find a new building because the Heinz tower development is expected to include the sale of their current structure as well.

The tiny structures are being torn down to make way for 40-story residential skyscrapers. The downtown area is quickly attracting urban people. But as this transformation takes place, it remains unclear whether downtown is changing in response to the demands and preferences of locals or those of urban planners.

According to Nick Norris, director of planning for Salt Lake City, the entire downtown will undergo significant changes as Salt Lake starts to adopt a much more bike- and pedestrian-friendly high-density urban model.

The area around lower 9th, where the entire three blocks have been completely torn down for residential structures, mixed-use, and a significant bike path, is where the biggest alteration reflecting this metamorphosis can be found. A large bike lane with tree-lined shoulders runs south along 300 West to Home Depot.

According to Norris, “We are altering the area’s form to correspond with the growing residential usage.” The goal, according to him, is to make Salt Lake City more bicycle-friendly so that inhabitants like utilising clean, 30-pound bicycles for transportation more often than dirty, 2,000-pound cars.

It makes sense, especially in light of Salt Lake City’s poor winter air quality. It remains to be seen, though, whether locals would adopt the idea or think that cycling is “fine for everyone else just not me.”

Downtown and Main Street still face some serious problems. Winter will soon arrive, and there will be a lot of homeless people who are not housed. Increasing capacity is the current goal of “flexing” all homeless resource centres. The city is betraying its promise to any neighbourhood that welcomes homeless resource centres by doing this.

Residents and business owners are feeling the stress of the city’s lack of a better plan; the city needs more shelter space, more beds, and more services, but their only plans are to use the Ramada Inn once more, and they’re probably going to buy yet another airport hotel as well as expand the homeless voucher and overflow programmes.

The head of the Ballpark Neighborhood Community Council is Amy J. Hawkins. She feels that the homeless population and the residents have both been let down by the Homeless Resource Centers.

The high crime rate, murder rates, and drug and sex trafficking are all signs that the existing approach to homelessness is ineffective. She continues by saying it was absurd to demolish the Road Home after it had been poorly managed and then have the new resource centres be run by the same people.

The approval of the Other Side Village, where the Salt Lake City Council approved the plans to develop 58 extremely affordable housing units on eight out of potentially forty acres, is wonderful news for those looking for affordable housing.

The Other Side Academy peer-support approach (rather than a large emphasis on case workers) has proven to be a success in actually improving the lives of former criminals, drug addicts, and alcoholics.

However, this will just be a small drop in the bucket to start. However, a greater need for transformative support exists. All inhabitants, especially those from lower socioeconomic classes, should have access to Main Street, housing, SLC’s economy, and the city’s future. Why? There is a very good explanation for this, even from a quite practical, economic perspective.


There is a severe labour shortage right now. Many of the unsheltered homeless would be intelligent, competent, and educated enough to fill the unfilled positions if they were placed in ideal circumstances.

“While just a small handful might make us look bad, there are expert mechanics and individuals with degrees out here,” an unsheltered homeless guy named John told me. But they must stop merely shoving us down. If you give us a chance, we can leave the streets.

The scenario is terrible because it suggests that Salt Lake City, with its posh new hotels and apartments, as well as the LDS Church’s opulent headquarters, can’t possibly be the same place. However, it is, like so many other boom towns, where we can find both the best and worst of times.

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